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Press Release 03-30-2017

Food Service Company to Pay $35,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

Legendary Baking Fired Employee Because of Spinal Cord Condition, Federal Agency Charged

CHICAGO - An Illinois food service company will pay $35,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Nashville, Tenn.-based American Blue Ribbons Holding, LLC dba Legendary Baking, violated federal law by denying light duty work to Patricia Hall, an employee at its Oak Forest, Ill., baking facility. Hall has CSP myelopathy, a condition affecting her spinal cord. The company then fired Hall and refused to rehire her because of her disability, the EEOC charged.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed its lawsuit on Aug. 23, 2016 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago (Civil Action No. 16 C 8266) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Under the consent decree settling the suit, entered by Judge John Robert Blakey, Legendary Baking will pay Hall $35,000. In addition, the decree enjoins Legendary Baking from engaging in disability discrimination or retaliation. Further, the decree requires the company to train its managers at the Oak Forest location with respect to the requirements of the ADA and to report complaints of disability discrimination to the EEOC.

"The EEOC is satisfied that this employer now clearly understands that disability discrimination is unacceptable and unlawful," said Julianne Bowman, the EEOC's district director in Chicago. "We also are gratified that vigorous enforcement on the Commission's part has led to appropriate corrective action and compensation for the victim."

EEOC Regional Attorney Gregory Gochanour noted that the settlement was negotiated before the parties engaged in extended litigation or pretrial discovery.

Gochanour said, "We appreciate Legendary Baking's determination to work with the EEOC to quickly resolve the case by providing compensation to Ms. Hall and undertaking measures to assure future compliance with the ADA."

The EEOC's Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of employment discrimination, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

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.