Newport Beach Hotel Company Dishes Out $132k for Firing of Front Desk Clerk with Autism
Comfort Suites and its parent company Tarsadia Hotels of Newport Beach have agreed to pay $132,500 to settle a discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of an autistic front desk clerk who was fired.
The companies must also change its employment practices and operations as a result of the settlement announced Monday, according to the EEOC.
San Diego nonprofit Partnership with Industry had sent a job coach to the Comfort Suites Mission Valley Hotel to help the unidentified front desk clerk with "autism-specific training techniques." But, according to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Los Angeles in September 2010, the worker's supervisors barred the coach and made repeated disparaging remarks about the employee's condition.
Under the terms of the settlement, the fired employee will receive $125,000 and Partnership with Industry gets $7,500. Tarsadia also agreed to what the EEOC calls "sweeping" changes to its employment practices, including revising its policies and procedures regarding Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, hiring an EEOC consultant to train all employees on ADA rights and responsibilities, and requiring managers and supervisors to submit their employee evaluations for compliance review. The company must also submit regular progress reports to the federal agency.
"A reasonable accommodation is often minimal in cost and merely involves open communication between the employer and employee to make it work," says Marla Stern, director of the EEOC's San Diego office, in a statement. "The results can make all the difference for people with disabilities, allowing them to succeed in the workplace."
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