Jeffco Education Support Professionals Association
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 17, 2021
EEOC finds reasonable cause to believe that Jeffco Public Schools violated the Americans with Disabilities Act
District can meet to settle case, according to ruling
GOLDEN – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled last week that the County Public Schools District (JeffCo) violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it denied reasonable accommodations and forced Jefferson County Education Support Professionals Association (JESPA) member Ron Patterson on leave and then terminated him. JESPA attempted to resolve the matter at the lowest possible level but ultimately filed a complaint with the EEOC to resolve the matter.
“It is unfortunate that the district thinks it’s okay to treat its employees in a way that violates the law,” said Lara Center, library paraprofessional and president of the Jefferson County Education Support Professionals Association (JESPA). “JESPA has filed a number of discrimination grievances and the district responds by leveraging a protracted and expensive legal system.”
After the investigation concluded, the EEOC found reasonable cause to believe that JeffCo had indeed violated Mr. Patterson’s rights under the ADA by subjecting him to unequal terms and conditions of employment. They also ruled that Mr. Patterson was denied a reasonable accommodation and that he was discharged because of his disability, all in violation of the ADA.
“I love working in JeffCo, and the work I do is important to our students. All I’ve wanted is to get back to work,” said Ron Patterson, structural technician and JESPA member.
The EEOC has invited the district to participate in “conciliation,” an informal and confidential process designed to bring the parties together to resolve the case without the need for protracted litigation.
“It’s really unfortunate that it has come to this,” said Center. “We wouldn’t be talking about any of this if the district would just choose to do the right thing. From good faith bargaining, to safety, to putting students over profits, the district continues to do the opposite of right and we’re not going to let that fly.”