Occupational Health & Safety

McDonald's Pays $90K to Settle Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Alstrun LLP, which previously owned and operated a Philadelphia McDonald’s, has agreed to pay $90,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to settle a federal discrimination lawsuit on behalf of a worker with an intellectual disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced recently.

EEOC alleged in the suit that Timothy Artis, a lot and lobby worker at the McDonald’s, was unlawfully harassed based on his intellectual disability, in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Even though Artis successfully performed his job duties, his super¬visors, other managers, and co-workers repeatedly called him offensive and degrading names because of his disability. The harassment included physical shoving and threats, including one occasion when a co-worker threatened Artis with a box cutter, the EEOC charged in its lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Artis’s mother complained repeatedly to store officials about the harassment, but the restaurant failed to take appropriate action to stop it. Artis was subsequently compelled to quit due to the unchecked verbal and physical abuse, according to EEOC.

In addition to paying $90,000 to Artis, the two-year consent decree settling the suit provides important equitable relief, including enjoining Alstrun from discriminating based on disability in the future. Alstrun will post and maintain EEOC remedial notices and posters. Further, Alstrun must train all managers and supervisors about the ADA’s protections against disability discrimination and provide reports to the agency about the resolution of any disability discrimination complaints it receives.

“The ADA requires employers to provide a work environment free from unlawful abuse and harassment,” said Acting Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence of EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office. “We are pleased that Alstrun worked with us to resolve this lawsuit for satisfactory monetary relief and equitable remedies designed to prevent future harassment or discrimination.”

During fiscal year 2009, disability discrimination charges reached a record level of 21,451 — an increase of 10 percent from the prior fiscal year.

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