The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



Restaurant Fired Server for Perceived Disability, Association with Disabled Son

MIAMI – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit in federal court announced today that a steak and seafood restaurant in Manalapan, Fla., violated federal law by discriminating against a female food server it regarded as being disabled and because of her relationship to a person with a disability.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Case No. 09-81101-CIV-ZLOCH/ROSENBAUM, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, when Callaro’s Prime Steak and Seafood discovered that the server had a son with a disability, it demanded that she take a prohibited medical test. The EEOC says that when the server refused to take the test, Callaro’s reduced her working hours, scheduled her to work on days when she was unavailable, and ultimately fired her. Callaro’s terminated the server because it regarded her as disabled and because of her association with her disabled son, the EEOC asserts.

“Under the Americans With Disabilities Act, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an individual who has a relationship or association with a person who has a disability, or because an individual is perceived to have a disability,” said EEOC Miami District Director Jacqueline H. McNair. “The EEOC will continue to vigorously enforce all aspects of the ADA’s employment provisions.”

During Fiscal Year 2008, disability discrimination charge filings with the EEOC nationwide rose to 19,453 -- an increase of 10 percent from the prior fiscal year and the highest level in 14 years.

EEOC Regional Attorney Nora E. Curtin said, “Employers must refrain from making workplace decisions based on myths, fears, and stereotypes about persons with disabilities, regardless of whether the disability is real or perceived. Workers have a right to refuse prohibited medical tests and should not be penalized for their association with those who are disabled. Companies that employ people with disabilities know firsthand that disability does not mean inability.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at

The EEOC Miami District Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement and litigation in Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The Miami District Office has a Field Office in Tampa and a Local Office in San Juan.

This page was last modified on July 28, 2009.

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