Target Stores Sued for Disability Discrimination

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a discrimination lawsuit against national retailer Target Stores Inc. for unlawfully denying a reasonable accommodation to an employee with multiple disability-based impairments and substantially reducing his work hours due to the medical conditions. According to the lawsuit, the disabled worker could not effectively communicate with others without the assistance of a job coach because of his cerebral palsy and limited intellectual functioning.

EEOC charged in its suit that, at its store in Foothill Ranch in Southern Orange County, Calif., Target subjected this employee to discriminatory practices on the basis of disability when it failed to notify his job coach and parents of any in-person meetings involving work issues and job performance, as requested. The disabled employee was compelled to attend these in-person meetings alone without the assistance of a job coach or parent, even though repeated requests had been made by both the job coaches and parents to be in attendance at the meetings. Target had hired this employee with full knowledge of his disabilities and need for a reasonable accommodation, according to the EEOC.

Such alleged conduct violates Title I of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 and Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California after first attempting to reach voluntary settlement out of court (EEOC v. Target Stores, Inc., Case No. SACV 09-0963).

"What is particularly disturbing here is that Target already knew this employee was disabled and needed assistance with communicating during in-person meetings," said EEOC Regional Attorney Anna Y. Park of the agency's Los Angeles District Office. "Target's failure to provide a reasonable accommodation denied him equal benefits and privileges of employment. Despite his disabilities, the employee in this case was qualified and motivated to work, but Target denied him an equal opportunity to succeed in the workplace."

Minneapolis-based Target operates more than 1,700 stores in 49 states nationwide, including more than 240 Super Target stores, according to company information.

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