EEOC Sues Papa Johns Alleging Wrongful Firing of Blind Man | Franchise Information

The Equal Employment Alternative Fee is suing Papa Johns for alleged incapacity discrimination.

The fee announced the lawsuit March 15, which claims the pizza franchisor illegally fired a blind man who requested to maintain his service canine on web site, “away from each prospects and meals preparation actions throughout his shifts.” The EEOC claims the termination violates the Individuals with Disabilities Act.

In response to the lawsuit, Michael Barnes, who’s legally blind, utilized for a job at Papa Johns in Athens, Georgia, in February 2020 after listening to that the corporate hires individuals who have imaginative and prescient impairments.

He reportedly informed the shop supervisor about his reliance on his information canine, Indie, who he requires to assist him commute. He requested lodging to maintain the canine on web site, however he doesn’t want Indie to be with him throughout his shift, in accordance with the lawsuit.

The supervisor inspired Barnes to use, and reportedly informed him his incapacity wouldn’t be an issue, in accordance with the go well with. They allegedly mentioned choices for protecting the canine on web site through the utility course of, during which the supervisor learn aloud among the utility questions to assist Barnes.

He was formally employed on the finish of February 2020, simply earlier than the corporate issued a hiring freeze in response to the pandemic. The supervisor informed Barnes he might begin work as soon as enterprise started choosing up once more, and contacted him in Might to reapply for the place.

The corporate employed Barnes, however fired him earlier than he labored his first shift. Papa Johns reportedly denied the request in June to maintain Indie on the premises because of unspecified well being considerations, in accordance with the lawsuit.

“Papa Johns is dedicated to sustaining a various and inclusive tradition for all of our group members, together with these with disabilities. We don’t discriminate towards any group member or applicant on the premise of any attribute protected by statute or native regulation,” a Papa Johns spokesperson wrote in an announcement to Franchise Occasions.

They continued, “In compliance with the Individuals with Incapacity Act (ADA), we make cheap lodging for the identified bodily or psychological limitations of an in any other case certified particular person with a incapacity who’s a group member or an applicant, except undue hardship would end result. This coverage governs all elements of employment, together with recruitment, choice, job project, compensation, corrective motion, termination and entry to advantages and coaching.”

The EEOC doesn’t sometimes touch upon pending litigation.

The ADA makes it unlawful to terminate an worker on the premise of incapacity, and Title I permits staff to make reasonable request to accommodate their disabilities.

The fee filed the lawsuit in district courtroom in Georgia, and is in search of again pay, entrance pay, punitive damages and compensatory damages, along with “injunctive reduction to stop future discrimination,” in accordance with the discharge.

Underneath Title I of the ADA, service dogs and altering an organization’s coverage on animals are an affordable lodging for these in want.

The fee has beforehand filed comparable lawsuits.

The EEOC sued craft supplies retailer Hobby Lobby last year for allegedly not permitting a cashier to make use of a service canine throughout her shift, and fired her when she couldn’t work with out the canine current, in accordance with the fee. The placement in query permits prospects to usher in service canine. The case is ongoing.

Transport America, a Minnesota-based trucking firm, paid $22,500 in 2019 for allegedly requiring an worker to pay a payment for protecting a service canine in his truck, regardless of needing the canine to accommodate his anxiousness.

A Papa Johns franchisee paid $125,000 in 2017 for allegedly discriminating towards an worker who had Down syndrome. The worker, Scott Bonn, had a job coach to assist him throughout his shifts for about 5 months earlier than he was fired after an working associate witnessed the job coach aiding Bonn. The working associate reportedly informed administration to fireplace Bonn, in accordance with the lawsuit.