Jantz, et al. v. BarnhartPeople with Disabilities Win Nationwide Class Action Certification in Employment Discrimination Case
Disabled employees of the Social Security Administration (SSA) challenged SSA’s discriminatory practice of limited job promotions and other career advancement opportunities for people with disabilities.
On August 25, 2010, the EEOC Office of Federal Operations affirmed the October 8, 2008 decision of the Administrative Judge to certify the case as a class action. SSA filed a motion to decertify the class in 2011, which was denied by the Administrative Judge on March 10, 2014. This is a victory for the approximately 570 class members, whose case was then able to proceed as a class action.
The class was represented by a consortium of law firms including DRA, Berger & Montague, P.C., Brown, Goldstein & Levy LLP, and Schneider Wallace Cottrell Konecky Wotkyns LLP.
On March 24, 2015, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) granted final approval to a class-wide settlement on behalf a class of over 570 current and former SSA employees with disabilities. The Settlement Agreement includes a substantial package of extensive programmatic changes valued at approximately $20 million that includes a new centralized reasonable accommodation office, accessible technology acquisition processes, training, provision of assistive supports for SSA employees, and an SSA Disability Agreement Implementation Board that will monitor the implementation of the programmatic relief. SSA has also established a separate fund of $9.98 million for the payment of claims to class members, legal fees and costs, and administrative costs. Of this amount, $6.6 million will compensate the Settlement Class Members; $110,000 will cover service payments to the five Class Representatives, and the remainder of the funds will go towards costs and fees.