Press Release 09-23-2020

Subway Franchisee Sued by EEOC for Disability Discrimination

Sandwich Shop Denied Job to Hard-of-Hearing Applicant, Federal Agency Charges

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A southern Indiana fast-food sandwich shop violated federal law by rejecting a hard-of-hearing applicant because of his hearing and resultant speech impairments according to a lawsuit filed on September 23, 2020 by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Ranrae, Inc., which owns and operates Subway Store #1005 in Bloomington, Ind., refused to hire a qualified hearing- and speech-impaired applicant for an open sandwich artist position because of his disability, citing “a communication concern” due to the applicant’s “hearing” and “speaking.”

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employment discrimination based on disability. The EEOC asserts that the company’s actions were intentional and demon­strated a reckless indifference to the applicant’s federally protected rights.

The EEOC filed suit (Case No.1:20-cv-02450-JRS-DML in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through the agency’s concili­ation process. The agency is seeking back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and other relief from Subway, including a permanent injunction to prevent the company from engaging in future disability discrim­ination in hiring.

“The EEOC will remain vigilant in ensuring that qualified, disabled applicants are protected by the ADA, which is designed to eradicate barriers to employment,” said Kenneth L. Bird, Indianapolis District Office Regional Attorney.

The Indianapolis District Office of the EEOC oversees Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, and parts of Ohio.

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.