Augusta Restaurant Fired Employee Due to her Epilepsy, Federal Agency Charged
AUGUSTA, Ga. - A Golden Corral restaurant franchisee located in Augusta, Ga., violated federal law when it unlawfully fired a server with epilepsy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
According to the EEOC's suit, B. Fehr, LLC, doing business as Golden Corral, terminated Alicea Cruce in May 2016 because it accused her of being unwilling or unable to control her disability.
Discriminating against an employee due to a disability or perceived disability violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects individuals from discrimination based on their disability. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. B. Fehr, LLC d/b/a Golden Corral, Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-00145-JRH-BKE) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, Augusta Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking reinstatement, back pay, front pay, and compensatory and punitive damages for Cruce, as well as injunctive relief designed to prevent future discrimination.
"An employer cannot fire an employee because of her disability - or its misperception of it," said Antonette Sewell, regional attorney for the EEOC's Atlanta District Office. "Ms. Cruce's condition in no way prevented her from performing her job, yet her employer fired her out of fear for her condition. Such conduct violates the ADA."
Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, district director of the Atlanta office, said, "The EEOC is committed to stopping workplace disability discrimination in Georgia and across the country. The ADA was passed, in part, to allow individuals to be judged on their abilities, not on the employer's assumptions about their supposed limitations."
The Atlanta District Office of the EEOC oversees Georgia and parts of South Carolina.
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.