Digital Media Center
Bryant-Denny Stadium, Gate 61
920 Paul Bryant Drive
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0370
(800) 654-4262

© 2024 Alabama Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Justice Department suing ALDOT over alleged discriminatory hiring


The Justice Department (DOJ) on Monday filed a lawsuit against the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) for violating Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, alleges that ALDOT refused to hire an individual because of his physical disability that restricts his ability to lift heavy objects.

According to court documents, the individual worked as a Transportation Maintenance Technician (TMT) at ALDOT for many years. He was injured on the job in 2007, resulting in a disability that limits his ability to lift heavy objects and perform other manual tasks. Despite his disability, the individual continued to work with accommodations at ALDOT for several years, beginning in 2009. He chose to retire from the position in 2015. Court documents also suggest that though the position in writing requires lifting objects of at least 50 pounds, this rarely happens without the help of mechanized equipment and working in pairs.

The DOJ alleges that when the individual reapplied to be a TMT, ALDOT refused to re-hire him because of his disability and instead hired less experienced applicants. The individual was one of seven applicants who applied for the position between 2017 and early 2018. Court records also indicate that interview notes for the complainant stated his weakness was being unable to lift 50 pounds. However, on successful applicants' interview notes, interviewers wrote "young," "youth" and "healthy" as strengths.

The individual initially filed a timely charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2018, alleging that ALDOT discriminated against him due to his disability and violated the ADA. EEOC investigated ALDOT's actions and referred the matter to the DOJ.

“Qualified people with disabilities must have an equal opportunity to participate in the workforce,” said Kristen Clarke, an assistant attorney general for the DOJ's Civil Rights Division, in a written statement. “This lawsuit reflects the Justice Department’s ongoing commitment to protect the employment rights of people with disabilities under the ADA.”

Title I of the ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals on the basis of disability. This includes refusing to hire qualified applicants because of their disability or using selection criteria to screen out qualified applicants that are not job-related or consistent with business necessity.

The case is currently being handled by the department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama. ALDOT's media relations team in a written statement said the state department will release a public response to this lawsuit by the end of the month.

Read more about the lawsuit here.

For more information on the ADA, call the DOJ's toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (TTY 1-833-610-1264) or visit For more information on the DOJ's Civil Rights Division, visit the division's website at

News from Alabama Public Radio is a public service in association with the University of Alabama. We depend on your help to keep our programming on the air and online. Please consider supporting the news you rely on with a donation today. Every contribution, no matter the size, propels our vital coverage. Thank you.