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Papa John's Must Pay $125,000 after Firing Worker with Intellectual Disability


Papa John’s Must Pay $125,000 after Firing Worker with Intellectual Disability

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.

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