A Wendy's franchisee has been sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for discriminating against a job applicant based on a disability. The hearing-impaired individual had applied for a cook's position with the fast-food chain but claims he was not hired, despite his experience, because of his disability, in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
The applicant had two years of experience working as a cook for another fast food chain and successfully interviewed with the shift manager at the Wendy's where he'd applied for to be a cook. An interview was then set up with the regional manager through the Texas Relay system, but the manager reportedly told the applicant during his interview that "there is really no place for someone we cannot communicate with."
The EEOC argues that the applicant was illegally denied the opportunity to contribute to the success of the local Wendy's because of his hearing impairment - a protected disability. The ADA requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for disabled employees unless it would create an undue hardship and prohibits discrimination against disabled applicants.
Because Wendy's excluded the applicant from consideration specifically because of his disability, assuming that staff would be unable to communicate with him despite his experience in the fast food industry, the EEOC is seeking monetary damages and policy changes.
Under the ADA, "[C]ompanies [must] treat disabled persons the same as all other applicants for a job," noted EEOC trial attorney Joel Clark.
Source: JobMouse, "Wendy's Franchisee Sued by EEOC for Disability Discrimination"