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Press Release 09-27-2012

EEOC Sues Just Sneakers for Disability Discrimination

Federal  Agency Charges That Employer Never Gave Legally Blind Employee a Chance

MOBILE, Ala. - The  Sneakers Corporation, doing business as Just Sneakers, Inc., violated federal  law by discriminating against a legally blind sales clerk because of his  disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in  a lawsuit it filed today. Sneakers, Inc.  is a Georgia corporation operating athletic specialty retail stores in Georgia  and Alabama.

The EEOC alleged in its lawsuit that, after rehiring a  former employee into a sales clerk position, Sneakers terminated him because of  his blindness without discussion or consideration of any reasonable  accommodation. The EEOC also alleged  that Sneakers treated non-disabled employees more favorably, including not  terminating them when they actually displayed performance problems.

Disability discrimination violates the Americans with Disabilities  Act. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. The Sneakers  Corporation., Case No. 1:12-cv-00827-TFM) in U.S. District Court for the Middle  District of Alabama after an investigation was completed by the EEOC's Mobile  Local Office and after the agency first attempted to reach a pre-litigation  settlement through its conciliation process.  The suit seeks monetary damages, including back pay, compensatory and  punitive damages, and injunctive relief.

"Employers clearly violate federal law by making employment decisions based  on an employee's disability -- this type of action simply is unacceptable," said  EEOC district director Delner Franklin-Thomas.  "This agency is committed to putting an end to disability discrimin­ation  in the workplace."

EEOC Regional Attorney C. Emanuel Smith added, "In most cases, an  employer can prevent problems like this by simply working out a solution, which  is usually easily accomplished. When an  employer is intransigent and refuses to even discuss such a rational course,  the EEOC will protect the rights of employees with disabilities."

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws  prohibiting employment discrimination.  The EEOC's Birmingham District covers Alabama, Mississippi (except 17  northern counties) and the Florida Panhandle.  Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at