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Press Release 09-26-2019

EEOC Sues Convenience Store for Refusing to Hire Clerk with Tourette's Syndrome

Store Manager Mocked Job Applicant's Condition and Threw Away His Application, Federal Agency Charges

ST. LOUIS - Home Service Oil Company, doing business as Express Mart, violated federal law when its Cedar Hill, Mo., convenience store manager refused to hire an applicant for a part-time store clerk position due to his disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit today.

According to the EEOC, the applicant, who has a facial tic caused by Tourette's syndrome, applied for a part-time store clerk position at the Cedar Hill Express Mart in 2017. The applicant was a frequent customer at the store. The EEOC alleged that, after he submitted his application, the store manager made a derogatory comment to the assistant manager about the applicant's facial tic, indicated she did not want someone like him working at the store, and threw his application in the trash.

Such alleged conduct violates the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from refusing to hire qualified job applicants because of physical or mental disabil­ities. The EEOC filed its lawsuit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Home Service Oil Co. d/b/a Express Mart, Civil Action No. 4:19-cv-02645), in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri after attempting to resolve the case through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks monetary relief and a store clerk position for the applicant, an order prohibiting future discriminatory conduct in hiring, and other relief.

"Hiring discrimination is one of the most difficult types of employment discrimination to eliminate because applicants generally do not know the reason they were not hired for a job," said Andrea G. Baran, the EEOC's Regional Attorney in St. Louis. "But the EEOC is committed to ensuring all workers have the freedom to compete for jobs without consideration of their disabilities or other unlawful factors."

Jack Vasquez, director of the EEOC's St. Louis District office, said, "Refusing to hire an individual with an obvious disability based on his or her appearance is precisely the type of unlawful conduct the ADA was designed to prevent. Unfortunately, this type of blatant discrimination persists nearly 30 years after the passage of the ADA."

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. The St. Louis District Office oversees Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and a portion of southern Illinois.

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