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
“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
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.