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PRESS RELEASE
8-7-19

Oakland After-School Program Settles EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

Cooking Camp Removed Educator's Duties Despite Medical Certification, Federal Agency Charges

OAKLAND, Calif. - Educational after-school camp Cooking Round the World (CRW) will pay $3,000 to a former employee and make substantial workplace changes to settle a disa­bility discrim­ination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, a chef educator employed by the camp received a positive test result for an inactive form of tuberculosis (TB) in March 2017. Although the employee provided a doctor's certification permitting her to work in a school environment and as a medical assistant, her employer insisted that she could not continue teaching young children. Instead, CRW offered her fewer hours for less pay working at a recruitment table passing out leaflets promoting its programs.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on a disability or a perceived disability. The EEOC filed suit (CIV# 4:18-cv-05880) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California after an investiga­tion by EEOC Investigator Bryan Hoss and after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.

The consent decree settling the suit provides $3,000 in emotional distress and compen­satory damages to the former employee and requires CRW to develop and implement EEO policies, procedures and training. The camp will provide anti-discrimination training to both managers and hourly staff; make available its EEO policy to all employees and applicants; report to the EEOC all com­plaints of disability discrimination it receives from its employees for the next 18 months; and post a notice for employees about the consent decree and the employees' rights under federal law.

"This young woman loved her job and was performing it successfully until she was denied a chance to continue despite the fact that her doctor's certification that she was non-contagious and cleared to continue working with children," said William Tamayo, the EEOC's San Francisco District Office director. "We are glad that this employer agreed to work with the EEOC to resolve this case."

EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Debra Smith said, "We commend CRW for demonstrating its commitment to doing the right thing and ensuring that, going forward, qualified workers will not be held back by harmful stereotypes and biases about disability. And it's important to note that the ADA protects qualified workers who are perceived as having a disability, in addition to those who actually do have a disability or a record of one."

According to company information, CRW is an educational, after-school and summer cooking camp with programs in the San Francisco Bay Area and San Diego, with headquarters in Oakland.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.