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PRESS RELEASE
4-18-13

Alia Corp. To Pay $100,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

Franchisee  Demoted a Supervisor with Intellectual Disability to Janitorial Position &  Forced Him to Resign Due to Disability, Alleged Federal Agency

FRESNO, Calif. - Alia Corporation, a franchisee  with over 20 fast-food chain restaurants throughout Central California, agreed  to pay $100,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S.  Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced  today. 

The EEOC originally filed suit against the Merced,  Calif.-based company in 2011 on behalf of Derrick Morgan, a former floor  supervisor with an intellectual disability (EEOC v. Alia Corporation, Case  No. 1:11-cv-01549-LJO-BAM, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of  California).  Morgan was known to be a good employee and  promoted by previous management from crew member to super­visor in 2008.  The EEOC contends that once Alia took over,  Alia management demoted Morgan to a janitorial position, cut his hours and reduced  his hourly wages, thereby forcing him to find other employment and resign by  June 2009.   The EEOC's lawsuit argued  that Alia Corporation thus engaged in disability discrimination that violated  the Americans with Disabilities Act  (ADA).

As  part of the settlement announced today, the parties entered into a three-year  consent decree requiring Alia to hire an equal employment opportunity (EEO) monitor  to create anti-discrimination policies and procedures; a complaint process and  impartial investigations; a centralized tracking system for discrimination  complaints; a system to hold employees accountable for discrimination; and,  annual live disability discrimination training for all management and human  resources employees.  The $100,000 in  monetary relief shall be paid entirely to Morgan.  The EEOC will monitor compliance with the agreement. 

"Employers cannot allow biases and stereotypes to factor  into employment decisions," said Anna Y. Park, regional attorney for the EEOC's  Los Angeles District Office, which includes Fresno in its jurisdiction.  "The EEOC commends Alia Corporation for  today's settlement, as it marks a new path for Alia -- one which includes equal  employment opportunity for all of their employees, regardless of disabilities."

Melissa  Barrios, director of the EEOC's Fresno Local Office, said, "Disability discrimination  charges are on the rise in California, comprising 30% of all charges  filed.  Workers who are unjustly  penalized due to their disabilities have protections under federal law, and the  EEOC is here to help." 

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