Papa John’s Must Pay $125,000 after Firing Worker with Intellectual
Franchise owner did not want employee’s job coach in restaurant
As many people know, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is intended
to protect people from being discriminated against because of physical
or intellectual disabilities. However, that doesn’t mean that all
employers comply with the law.
A recent court case shows what can happen when an employer doesn’t
honor a worker’s rights under the ADA. Let’s take a look at
what happened and then discuss how intellectual disabilities are handled
under the ADA.
Job coach necessary
Scott Bonn, a man with Down syndrome, was hired to work at a local Papa
John’s franchise. During his five months of employment with the
company, he would sometimes receive help from an independent job coach
who would prompt him on his work duties.
However, one day, one of the franchise owners visited the store while the
job coach was working with Bonn. After observing the interaction for a
while, the owner allegedly directed senior staff to fire Bonn.
He was terminated.
Bonn complained to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC),
the agency in charge of enforcing discrimination laws in the U.S. The
agency sued on his behalf.
Rather than try to defend its actions in court, the franchise decided to
settle. It had to pay Bonn $125,000 and revamp its equal employment opportunity
procedures and training.
(The case discussed here is
EEOC v. PJ Utah LLC, PJ Cheese, Inc., PJ United, Inc.)
Reasonable accommodations under the ADA
According to the EEOC, people with intellectual disabilities who qualify
for protection under the ADA may be eligible for certain job accommodations.
Some examples may include:
- Reallocating non-core tasks to another employee
- Restructuring training or work instructions to allow the person to better
process the information, such as breaking the job down into smaller sequential
tasks, providing supplemental charts or pictures, or allowing additional time
- Providing a tape recorder to record directions or reminders
- Using detailed schedules for completing tasks
- Providing additional training when necessary
- Allowing the person to use a job coach, who can help the person learn how
to do the job, provide training and support, foster relationships between
management and the employee, and help determine reasonable accommodations
- Allowing the person to work a modified work schedule
Contact us for a consultation now
If you feel that you’ve been subjected to unlawful discrimination
under the ADA, it’s wise to speak to an attorney to find out more
about your rights under the law.
Call or email us today to discuss your unique situation.