From a press release:
Nearly a decade after Ronald Jantz, a deaf employee of the Social Security Administration, filed a class action claim against his employer alleging discrimination in promotions of employees with disabilities, the parties today jointly announce that the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has preliminarily approved a class-wide settlement designed to make sweeping improvements to policies and processes impacting the careers of employees with disabilities at the Social Security Administration. The Social Security Administration, with approximately 60,000 current employees, is one of the largest federal employers of employees with disabilities. The class action settlement will also provide monetary relief to employees with "targeted disabilities." Targeted disabilities are a subset of disabilities that the EEOC, as a matter of policy, has identified for special emphasis, and include deafness, blindness, missing extremities, partial or complete paralysis, epilepsy, severe intellectual disability, psychiatric disability, and dwarfism. With no finding of wrongdoing or discrimination, the parties set aside their differences and devoted their energy to creating a dynamic package of relief and enhancements for past and current SSA employees.
Specifically, the Settlement Agreement includes a package of extensive programmatic changes that are designed to retain and support employees with disabilities and to broadly enhance the opportunities for career success and advancement of such employees. These programmatic changes include major revisions to SSA's reasonable accommodation processes, technology processes, training content, and provision of assistive supports for Agency employees with disabilities. The reasonable accommodation changes, in particular, will create a new centralized office where a multidisciplinary team of specialists will promptly and expertly handle requests that do not lend themselves to ready approval by a first-line manager
In addition to the sweeping package of programmatic changes, the Settlement Agreement also establishes a separate fund of $9.98 million for the payment of claims to eligible class members, as well as Class Counsel's legal fees and expenses, and payments to Mr. Jantz and the other class agents, as well as administrative costs.