The producers of “The Apprentice” will have to change the wording of contestant applications in the wake of a lawsuit brought forth by a potential candidate who was disabled.
The show has settled a lawsuit with St. Louis attorney James Schottel Jr., who claimed that the phrase in the applications that stated contestants must be “in excellent physical and mental health” excluded those with disabilities. He brought his suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Schottel, who is paralyzed from the waist down, argued that since “The Apprentice” bills itself as a 15-week job interview, it has to follow the ADA regulations.
The show’s application will now read, “All applicants who believe they meet our criteria, including persons with disabilities, are welcome and encouraged to apply to be a participant.”
Schottel is happy with how his suit turned out. “My whole purpose was to make sure they weren’t discriminating and that people weren’t being turned away,” he tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He did not seek any monetary damages; he did, however, apply to be on a future edition of the “Apprentice.”
Show creator Mark Burnett said in a statement that “It was never our intent to exclude from consideration persons with disabilities.”