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EEOC Files Suit Against Dish

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit Thursday against
EchoStar Communications Corp., claiming that it violated the Americans with
Disabilities Act by failing to give an employment application to a blind man.

After Dale Alton filed a complaint in 1999, the EEOC said, EchoStar gave him
two employment tests but declined to hire him or provide him with adaptive tools
that would allow him to function at the customer-service job he applied for.

The EEOC is seeking monetary compensation for Alton.

In addition, it wants the courts to ensure that EchoStar
implements policies prohibiting employment discrimination and initiates training
on the Americans with Disabilities Act, said Patricia McMahon, program analyst
with the EEOC's Denver office.

EchoStar spokesman Marc Lumpkin said the company believes the complaint has
no merit.

He explained that after Alton took a standard test that accommodated his
visual impairments, 'we concluded that he was not able to satisfy our minimal
guidelines for the position he was applying for.'

Lumpkin added that EchoStar has numerous employees with visual impairments
and other disabilities, and it provides accommodations 'to assist visually
impaired employees to enable them to successfully perform the essential
functions of their jobs.'