UC Regents Hit With Disability Lawsuit

In response to Stern’s lawsuit, UCSB officials announced that the DSP has modified its policies to aid disabled students in receiving jobs.
“As of January 26, student clients of DSP will join all other undergraduate and graduate students in being able to immediately access the department’s online applications for the student note-taker and test-proctor positions at DSP,” UCSB News Director George Foulsham said in a statement.
According to a Jan. 25 article in The Bottom Line, Stern said that the director of the Disabled Students Program Gary White claims that hiring an individual with disabilities creates additional liabilities and his job is to minimize potential liabilities.  
Although the 1990 American Disabilities Act made job discrimination against individuals with disabilities illegal, Stern claims that the university application process does not inquire about the skills of a disabled individual.
“They have an extremely wide and broad definition of disability and you can see that very easily because if you just simply go to their site, press one button indicating that you might have a disability, that’s when the flagging process starts,” Stern said. “And from that point on is when you’re denied the jobs.”
Stern pursued the lawsuit after he discovered that he could not be hired due to his disability. Under this policy, someone who has cancer would face the same job discrimination as Stern or other disabled yet qualified applicants. According to Stern, a disabled veteran or cancer patient could be denied a position despite being qualified.
“A disabled veteran or a cancer patient would be refused so much as consideration for one of these jobs.” Stern said. “One such job is the ‘test proctor’ position, which merely requires the employee to monitor one or a few students to see if they are cheating. Clearly, not each of the 54 million Americans with a disability should be deemed presumptively unqualified for this type of job.”
Stern filed the lawsuit in October 2011. The University of California is asking the judge to eliminate Title II of the American Disabilities Act, which states that public agencies cannot refuse to hire someone based exclusively on a disability.
“I’m not asking for affirmative action,” Stern said. “I don’t believe that anyone with a disability should be automatically entitled to a job, nor do I think that they have any more right to that job than a non-disabled person. I simply requested that they not look at one single word tied to their identity: disabled.”
Stern and White could not be reached for comment as of press time.