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Restaurant to pay job applicant $25,000 for violating ADA

Under the Americans with Disability Act, it is illegal for employers to discriminate against potential employees because of disability. When a disabled individual believes that this has happened, he or she may be able to take legal action. This is accomplished via assistance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A Popeye’s Chicken franchisee, based in another state, was accused of disability discrimination.

The EEOC filed a lawsuit against the fast food restaurant after a man was allegedly denied employment because of his HIV-positive status. The EEOC alleged that the business failed to employ the man despite the fact that he was qualified for the position, having previously worked at a fast food restaurant as a general manager.

The employer learned of the man’s HIV status after a manager followed up on his answer to the application’s question regarding why he left his previous position. In that space the applicant indicated the reason was “medical.” When he provided information about his condition he was told that he could not be employed by the restaurant despite the fact that HIV is not included on the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Code as a disease that can be transmitted via food.

In October 2011 the EEOC filed the lawsuit. The case recently settled with Popeye’s agreeing to pay the man $25,000.

That is not the only thing the restaurant will have to do. I will also provide ADA training to human resources professionals, area supervisors and all managers regarding pre-employment inquiries and medical related inquiries.

As this case illustrates it can take several years to resolve a matter involving employer discrimination under the ADA. Despite this it is important to take action regarding such matters. In addition to potentially securing a monetary settlement, holding the company responsible could prevent another disabled individual from having to face that same thing.

Source: KLTV, “HIV-positive job applicant receives settlement from Longview restaurant owner,” Marshall Stephens, Sept. 4, 2014

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