Augusta Restaurant Fired Employee Due to her Epilepsy, Federal Agency Charged

A Golden Corral restaurant franchisee located in Augusta, Ga., will pay $31,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, B. Fehr, LLC, doing business as Golden Corral, fired Alicea Cruce in May 2016 after it accused her of “being unwilling or unable to control her epilepsy.”

This alleged conduction violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects individuals from discrimination based on their disability or perceived disability.  The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. B. Fehr, LLC d/b/a Golden Corral, Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-00145-JRH-BKE) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, Augusta Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.

In addition to providing monetary damages to Cruce, the consent decree settling the lawsuit requires Golden Corral to implement and distribute a policy prohibiting discrimina­tion.  The decree also requires the company provide equal employment opportunity training to its management and non-management employees. The two-year decree further requires the restaurant to post a notice to its employees about the lawsuit and to provide semi-annual reporting to the EEOC about disability discrimination complaints.

“The agency is pleased that Golden Corral agreed to resolve this case quickly and to train its employees on its obligations under the ADA,” said Antonette Sewell, EEOC Atlanta District Office regional attorney.  “The EEOC will continue its efforts to eradicate discrimination suffered by employees on the frontlines,”  Darrell Graham, acting district director of the Atlanta District Office, said. “The employer apparently concluded Ms. Cruce’s condition posed a direct threat to herself or others in the workplace, however, that determination must be based on actual evidence and not mere speculation.”

The Atlanta District Office of the EEOC oversees Georgia and parts of South Carolina.

This is a press release from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

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