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A McDonald's Corp. franchisee has agreed to pay $100,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in a case in which it allegedly demoted, then forced the resignation of, a supervisor with an intellectual disability.
According to court papers filed by the EEOC, Derrick Morgan, who has a mental impairment, had been employed as a manager/floor supervisor at a McDonald's restaurant in Oakhurst, Calif., since 2008 and was “able to perform all of the essential functions of his job in a satisfactory manner.”
However, Merced, Calif.-based Alia Corp. took over operations of the facility in January 2009 and within three months demoted Mr. Morgan because of his disability and/or because it perceived him as being disabled, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the EEOC.
It moved him to a “maintenance” position, where he primarily performed janitorial duties and back-of-the-house stock duties, cut his pay and reduced his work hours. This action forced him to resign and find other employment by June 2009, said the EEOC.
Under terms of the settlement agreement, Alia Corp., which operates more than 20 fast food chain restaurants, will pay Mr. Morgan $100,000 in monetary relief, and hire an equal employment opportunity monitor to create anti-discrimination policies and procedures, among other steps, said the EEOC.
“Employers cannot allow biases and stereotypes to factor into employment decisions,” said Anna Y. Park, regional attorney for the EEOC's Los Angeles District Office in a statement. “The EEOC commends Alia Corp. for today's settlement as it marks a new path for Alia — one which includes equal employment opportunity for all of their employees, regardless of disabilities.”
Melissa Barrios, director of the EEOC's Fresno, Calif., Local Office, said, “Disability discrimination charges are on the rise in California, comprising 30% of all charges filed. Workers who are unjustly penalized due to their disabilities have protections under federal law, and the EEOC is here to help.”
A company spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.