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McDonald’s Corp. has been charged with disability discrimination by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for refusing to provide a sign language interpreter for a deaf employee candidate.
Ricky Washington, who is deaf, applied online for a job at a McDonald’s restaurant in Belton, Missouri, in June 2012. When the Belton restaurant manager learned Mr. Washington needed a sign language interpreter for his job interview, she canceled the interview and never rescheduled it, despite Mr. Washington’s sister volunteering to act as the interpreter, the EEOC said in a statement issued Monday.
Mr. Washington indicated on his application that he attended Kansas School for the Deaf and that he also had previous job experience working as a cook and clean-up team member at a McDonald's restaurant in Louisiana in 2009.
Restaurant management continued to interview and hire new workers after Mr. Washington made several attempts to schedule an interview, according to the agency.
After first attempting to reach a prelitigation settlement through its conciliation process, the EEOC charged Oak Brook, Illinois-based McDonald’s Corp. and McDonald’s Restaurants of Missouri Inc. in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Missouri, with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by refusing to accommodate and hire a deaf applicant.
“Removing obstacles in the hiring process for people with disabilities is a national priority for EEOC,” said James R. Neely Jr., EEOC’s St. Louis district director. “All employers, but especially large ones, should join with the agency to make sure everyone has equal access to the employment process.”
The Belton restaurant where Mr. Washington applied for work is owned and operated by McDonald’s Corp., the statement said.
A now-bankrupt ship building and repair company will pay about $5 million to settle an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission race and national origin discrimination case involving 476 Indian guest workers who were subjected to harsh living conditions.