A mother of a teenager who has autism has filed a lawsuit against Autism Speaks. The reason is because Autism Speaks rescinded on a job offer after she requested workplace accommodations that would allow her to care for her son. It seems strange that an autism awareness group would deny that that type of request.
According to Disability Scoop Simone Greggs was offered a job as a walk events manager at Autism Speaks office in Washington D.C., in May of 2012. To get this job, she had to successfully complete five different interviews, a pre-employment background check, and a drug test.
When Simone Greggs was offered the job, she asked if her new employer would accommodate an alternate work schedule or if they would allow her to work from home on Wednesdays. Her son’s school released students early on Wednesdays. This request was denied, so she made other arrangements to ensure that her son would be cared for while she was at work.
Days before she was scheduled to start work, Autism Speaks rescinded the job offer. Ms. Greggs says that managers at Autism Speaks said they were “rescinding the employment offer because they did not want to make any accommodations for the care of her autistic child”. Simone Greggs has filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against Autism Speaks. She says that officials at Autism Speaks violated the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act when it took back its offer of employment.
A study that was published in the journal “Pediatrics” earlier this year found that families that include children who have autism spectrum disorders, or ASD, face a financial impact that other families do not face. Mothers of children with an ASD make around $6,000 less than moms of children with other health conditions. The moms of kids who have ASD earn about $11,500 less than the moms whose children had no health issues.
Part of the reason why this happens is because of the care that children with an ASD require. Many employers are unwilling to make the necessary accommodations for parents of kids who have an ASD,(or parents of children with other types of disorders). Typically, the result is that mom quits working, and the family attempts to get by on the one income that comes from the mom’s partner or spouse.
Autism Speaks is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2005. It is the largest autism science and advocacy organization in the United States. The organization is dedicated to funding research into the causes of autism, prevention, treatments, and a cure for autism. I cannot find any mention about this court case on the Autism Speaks page.
Image by Brian Turner on Flickr