Texas Wendy's franchisee settles disability discrimination suit

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 bars discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, as well as in transportation, commercial facilities, state and local government, telecommunications and public accommodations. When it comes to employment, this means that it is not only illegal to discriminate against disabled employees in the workplace, but it is also illegal to practice disability discrimination in hiring. Furthermore, employers must make reasonable accommodations in order to facilitate work activities of qualified individuals.

Recently, a Waco, Texas, franchisee of The Wendy's Co. fast-food chain settled a disability discrimination lawsuit. The U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission had filed the suit, arguing that the company denied employment to a job applicant because of his hearing impairment.

The man applied for a cook position at a Wendy's location in Killeen, Texas. He interviewed with a shift manager in person and then with a general manager, using a telephonic system for those who are hearing-impaired. According to the EEOC, during the interview the general manager told the applicant that "there is really no place for someone we cannot communicate with," as reported by Business Insurance.

The EEOC attempted to reach a settlement with the franchisee, but after failing to do so a lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. The franchisee has now agreed to resolve the lawsuit by paying the man $41,500 and providing ADA training to its employees.

It is imperative that employers here in Texas are well-informed about the ADA and that their employees are trained on disability discrimination and other types of discrimination. Of course, people with disabilities can be dynamic workers when they are given the fair opportunity to apply, and this is why we have the ADA.

Source: Business Insurance, "Wendy's franchisee settles ADA charges brought by EEOC," Mike Tsikoudakis, Oct. 11, 2012

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