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Discrimination Suit Filed Against UMB Financial

Dec 4, 2004 | AP

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit Wednesday against UMB Financial Corp., charging the firm with denying a Kansas City man a job because he is a quadriplegic.

The suit claims the Kansas City-based bank refused to hire Rodney Graves in late 2002 as a customer support and sales agent because of his disability. Graves, 47, sustained paralysis from a football injury 29 years ago, the agency said.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, seeks back pay and damages for Graves.

"Employers must remember that disability does not mean inability," Lynn Bruner, a spokeswoman for the agency's St. Louis office, said in a statement.

UMB said it was disappointed to hear of the lawsuit, saying it "attempted to work with Mr. Graves in facilitating his employment" but that "both he and the UMB associates with whom he interviewed were of the opinion that he was unable to do the job for which he applied."

Bruner said the Kansas City man was a qualified applicant who was ready and willing to work, but UMB Bank denied him the opportunity. The bank job required phone sales and typing data into a computer and Graves had experience in a similar position with AT&T Corp. until he was laid off, the agency said.

Agency officials said they filed the suit under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act after out-of-court settlement efforts with the bank failed.

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