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Hearing impaired employee wins discrimination suit

Indiana individuals who have faced discrimination in the workplace because of a disability will be interested to learn about a New Mexico business that recently settled a $20,000 lawsuit with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In this particular case, a woman suffered from a hearing impairment as well as a minor speech impediment. She worked as a dishwasher and busser for a bakery and cafe. According to the EEOC, she was denied job training and advancement to a cashier position due to her disabilities. The company also allegedly retaliated against the woman after she complained about the employment discrimination.

As you may know, disability discrimination violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the EEOC filed suit on behalf of the woman. The purpose of the ADA is to allow people with disabilities to have equal employment opportunities. The Act applies to businesses with 15 or more employees.

A successful suit would require the EEOC to demonstrate that the discriminated employee is a member of a protected class who is qualified for the job. Furthermore, he or she must have been terminated or denied a promotion because the person is a member of that class. In addition, the discriminated employee must have some sort of damages such as lost wages.

In this suit, the woman received monetary relief as well as additional relief. This additional relief included a letter of apology, a letter of recommendation and an employment offer for a vacant salad or sandwich station position. The company also plans to take further steps to help avoid future issues, such as training on disability discrimination, creating new policies tailored to deal with similar problems and posting a notice explaining the protections the ADA offers to employees.

Source: 4-traders, "Albuquerque Bakery & Café Settles EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit," June 20, 2012

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