New Jersey McDonald’s franchisee JDKD Enterprises, L.P will pay $100,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit arising from its termination of an autistic employee filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). The lawsuit warns other employers against failing to reasonably accommodate or otherwise discriminating against individuals with autism or other disorders who can perform essential job functions with or without reasonable accommodation.
The EEOC’s lawsuit charged JDKD Enterprises fired an employee who worked at several McDonald’s restaurants for 37 years because of his autism spectrum disorder. The employee’s per-formance remained excellent throughout his decade-long employment at the Deptford, New Jersey McDonald’s, receiving numerous awards and accolades acknowledging his excellent job performance. However, two months after JDKD Enterprises, L.P., assumed ownership of this McDonald’s, it abruptly terminated the grill cook.
The EEOC argued the termination of the employee due to his autism disorder violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities and prohibits employers from taking adverse employment actions based on an individual’s disability or need for accommodations. After first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process, the EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 1:21-cv-16441) in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey,
In addition to paying the former employee $100,000 in monetary relief, the two-year consent decree settling the suit provides for systemic relief intended to prevent further disability discrimination, periodic reporting to the EEOC, and training for all management personnel in responding to reasonable accommodation requests.
“The ADA protects people with autism spectrum disorder, and the EEOC is absolutely committed to aggressively enforcing the ADA requirement that employers reasonably accommodate their workers with disabilities absent undue hardship,” said Debra Lawrence, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office in the EEOC announcement of the settlement.
In the EEOC announcement of the settlement, quotes EEOC Philadelphia District Director Jamie Williamson as saying, “Ensuring that all employees, especially management, are properly trained regarding their obligations under the ADA – including their duty to engage in good faith, diligent communications with their disabled employees about accommodation needs – is a smart business practice and the right thing to do. Leadership means stewardship of an organization’s most valuable asset – its people.”
The EEOC suit and statements warn other organizations dealing with employees with autistic spectrum or other disabilities not to discriminate and to be prepared to defend the adequacy of their actions regardless of whether choosing to allow or deny accommodation.
For Help With Comments, Investigations Or Other Needs
If your organization would like to learn more about the concerns discussed in this update or seeks assistance auditing, updating, administering or defending its human resources, compensation, benefits, corporate ethics and compliance practices, or other performance related concerns, contact management attorney and consultant Cynthia Marcotte Stamer.
An attorney Board Certified in Labor & Employment Law by Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Ms. Stamer is recognized for work helping organizations management people, operations and risk as a Fellow in the American College of Employee Benefit Counsel, a “Top Woman Lawyer,” “Top Rated Lawyer,” and “LEGAL LEADER™” in Labor and Employment Law and Health Care Law; a “Best Lawyers” in “Labor & Employment,” “Tax: ERISA & Employee Benefits,” “Health Care” and “Business and Commercial Law.”
For 35 years, Ms. Stamer’s work has focused on advising and assisting businesses and business leaders with these and other employment and other staffing, employee benefit, compensation, risk, performance and compliance management and other operational solutions and concerns. Her experience includes helping management both manage performance and manage legal risk and compliance. While helping businesses define and manage the conduct and performance of their employees, contractors and vendors, she also assists employers and others about compliance with federal and state equal employment opportunity, compensation, health and other employee benefit, workplace safety, leave, and other labor and employment laws, advises and defends businesses against labor and employment, employee benefit, compensation, fraud and other regulatory compliance and other related audits, investigations and litigation, charges, audits, claims and investigations by the IRS, Department of Labor, Department of Justice, SEC, Federal Trade Commission, HUD, HHS, DOD, Departments of Insurance, and other federal and state regulators. Ms. Stamer also speaks, coaches management and publishes extensively on these and other related matters. For additional information about Ms. Stamer and her experience or to access other publications by Ms. Stamer see here or contact Ms. Stamer directly.
Other Helpful Resources & Information
If you found this article of interest, you also may be interested in reviewing other Breaking News, articles and other resources available including:
- ADA May Require Employers To Accommodate Employees Testing Positive For Legally Prescribed Medications
- Selected Thoughts And Other Resources On Evolving U.S. Department Of Justice Antitrust Policy On Prescription Medical & Other Health Products Pricing & Competition; Surprise Billing; And Novel Coronavirus Planning & Response
- HR & Benefit Leadership Resilience Strategies For Leading Your People & Operations Through COVID-19 Uncertainties & Disruptions
- OSHA Nails NJ Transitional Housing Provider For Exposing Workers To COVID-19
- SEC Proposed Cybersecurity Rules Reenforce Tighten Requirements & Highlight Imperative For Market Involved & Influencing Businesses & Leaders To Clean Up Cybersecurity Practices & Disclosures
- Raise Cybersecurity & Cyberbreach Compliance & Risk Management To Defend Against Rising Cyber Regulatory & Enforcement Risks
- DOJ Civil Cyber-Fraud Initiative Pressures Federal Contractors & Grant Recipients To Tighten Cybersecurity Controls, Training & Other Safeguards
- Eased Opiate Prescription Guidelines Could Impact Employers & Health Plans
- Government Contractors Update OFCCP workplace Posters
- EEOC Sues Lilly USAA For Age Discrimination
- Per Diem Travel Reimbursement Rate Changing
- OFCCP Revises Functional Affirmative Action Program Directive
- Impact on Governmental Policy on Pricing And Access to Prescription Medical Products in the Market Place
- $1.1 Million In DOJ Penalties Show Businesses Risks Of National Origin/Citizenship Discrimination In Job Postings and Other Employment Practices
- OFCCP Extends Deadline For Contractors Objection To EEO-1 Reports FOIA Release
- 5 Ex-Methodist Hospital Employees Charged with Criminal HIPAA Violations
- Pharmacies Pay $6.8+ Million To Settle False Claims Act Civil Claims
- OCR Dental Practices Settlements Warn Providers To Honor HIPAA Access Rights
- Criminal IV Tampering Charges Against Anesthesiologist Highlight Exposures Providers And Their Facilities Can Face From Team Members Retaliatory or Other Misdeeds
- Act Promptly To Comment On ONC’s Proposed Electronic Clinical Quality Measure Draft Changes
- HIPAA Covered Entity Nailed With $300,000+ HIPAA Settlement For Improper PHI Disposal
- Protect Remote Desktop Protocols From Malware Threat
- SCOTUS: Emotional Injury Damages Not Recoverable In Patient’s Private Rehab Act and ACA Disability Discrimination Lawsuit But Other Significant Liability Risks Remain
- Justice Department Antitrust Suit Seeks To Block UnitedHealth Acquisition Of Change Healthcare As Anticompetitive
- ERISA Claims and Appeals ERISA Basics Bootcamp
- CMS Updates COVID-19 Guidance For Visiting Nursing Homes & LTC Facility Vaccination During Omicron Surge
- Justice Department COVID & Other Health Care Fraud Enforcement Thriving Despite Pandemic Emergency
- Confirm Health & Fitness App Breach & Security In Face Of New Enforcement Risks
- Biden-Harris Administration to Expand Vaccination Requirements for Health Care and Many Other Employers
If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail – by creating or updating your profile here. For important information concerning this communication click here. If you do not wish to receive these updates in the future, unsubscribe by updating your profile here.
NOTICE: Terms. These materials are for general informational and educational purposes only. They do not establish an attorney-client relationship, are not legal advice, a substitute for legal advice, an offer or commitment to provide legal advice or an admission. The information and statements in these materials may not address all relevant issues or apply to any situation or circumstances. The author reserves the right to qualify or retract any of these statements at any time. and does not necessarily address all relevant issues. Because the law evolves and in ways that subsequent developments could impact the currency and completeness of this discussion. The author disclaims and has no responsibility to provide any update or otherwise notify anyone any such change, limitation, or other condition that might affect the suitability of reliance upon these materials or information otherwise conveyed in connection with this program. Readers are urged to engage competent legal counsel for consultation and representation considering the specific facts and circumstances presented in their unique circumstance at any time. Readers may not rely upon, are solely responsible for, and assume the risk and all liabilities resulting from their use of this publication. Readers acknowledge and agree to the conditions of this Notice as a condition of their access of this publication. Circular 230 Compliance. The following disclaimer is included to ensure that we comply with U.S. Treasury Department Regulations. Any statements contained herein are not intended or written by the writer to be used, and nothing contained herein can be used by you or any other person, for the purpose of (1) avoiding penalties that may be imposed under federal tax law, or (2) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any tax-related transaction or matter addressed herein. ©2022 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer. Nonexclusive right to republish granted to Solutions Law Press, Inc. All other rights reserved.