Federal Agency Charged Employee Was Fired in Retaliation for Complaining About Employer's Refusal to Provide Reasonable Accommodation for Scoliosis
ATLANTA - Jamison Shaw, Inc., a hair salon based in Atlanta, will pay $27,500 to settle a disability discrimination and retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
According to the EEOC's suit, in March 2012, Chiquita Cheek asked her employer for an accommodation because of her scoliosis. She asked for a mat to stand on while performing her work, which would have alleviated pain in her back. When the employer refused to grant Cheek the accommodation, Cheek complained that she was being subjected to discrimination. Cheek, who had worked for the employer since October 2011, was immediately terminated after complaining about disability discrimination.
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers from discriminating due to an employee's disability, and requires that employers provide a reasonable accommodation to enable employees to perform their work. It also prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee for complaining about discriminatory conduct. The EEOC filed suit on June 20, 2014 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia (Civil Action No. 1:14-CV-019340), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The consent decree settling the suit, in addition to the monetary relief, includes provisions for equal employment opportunity training and reporting and posting of anti-discrimination notices. In the lawsuit and consent decree, Jamison Shaw denied any liability or wrongdoing.
"The Commission is pleased that the employer in this case made an effort to resolve the matter quickly," said Bernice Williams Kimbrough, district director in Atlanta. "We are hopeful that the consent decree will result in future compliance with the law."
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.