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PRESS RELEASE
10-1-09

Clayton Grocery Sued By EEOC For Disability Discrimination

Store Failed to Hire Learning-Disabled Man, Federal Agency Charges

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Clayton Ranch Market, a grocery store in Clayton, N.M., violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) by refusing to hire a qualified applicant because he had a disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today. The ADA prohibits employment discrimination based on disability.

In its suit, the EEOC said that since at least April 2008, Clayton Ranch Market violated the ADA by failing to hire Robert Harris because of his learning disability. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico (EEOC v. Moore and Moore, Inc. and Clayton Ranch Market Inc., d/b/a Clayton Ranch Market, CIV1:09-00951) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.

“The EEOC’s investigation revealed that Clayton Ranch Market hired people with the same or similar qualifications as Mr. Harris, yet Mr. Harris, who sought employment with the store, was neither hired or contacted about a job,” said EEOC Phoenix Acting District Director Rayford Irvin. “Employers cannot deny employment to qualified applicants because of disability.”

Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, added, “Employment decisions made solely on a person’s disability are illegal. Employment opportunities should be made available to anyone who wants to work and who is capable of doing the job, regardless of disabilities.”

The lawsuit asks the court to order Clayton Ranch Market to provide Harris with appropriate relief, including back wages, compensatory and punitive damages, and to grant a permanent injunction enjoining the company from engaging in disability discrimination. The EEOC also asks the court to order the company to institute and carry out policies and practices that eradicate and prevent disability discrimination in the workplace.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.