Disabled Worker Physically Threatened and Harassed, Federal Agency Said
PHILADELPHIA – Alstrun LLP, which used to own and operate a Philadelphia McDonald’s, will 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 today.
The EEOC alleged in the suit that Timothy Artis, a lot and lobby worker at the McDonald’s at 7600 City Line Avenue, 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 supervisors, 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, Civil Action No. 09-4347.
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 the EEOC.
The ADA prohibits discrimination and harassment based on disability. The EEOC attempted to reach a settlement out of court before filing suit.
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 the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office, which oversees Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, Maryland and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. “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.
According to company records, Alstrun LLP now operates McDonald’s franchises in Brookhaven and Parksburg, Pa.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.