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Albuquerque Bakery & Café Settles EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

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06/20/2012 | 01:50pm EST

Savory Fare Café Pays $20,000 to Woman Denied Training and Position Because of Hearing Impairment

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. ? Jaazrubin, LLC, doing business as Savory Fare Bakery and Café in Albuquerque, has agreed to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for $20,000 and other relief, the agency announced today.

The EEOC?s lawsuit, EEOC v. Jaazrubin, LLC, d/b/a Savory Fare, 11-cv-00869 MV/ACT, charged that Savory Fare subjected Laura Mitchell to discrimination because of her disability, or because it regarded her as disabled, due to her hearing impairment and minor speech impediment. The EEOC claimed that Mitchell was denied job advancement and job training to a position as a cashier from a dishwasher/busser position because of her disabilities. The agency also alleged that Savory Fare retaliated against Mitchell for opposing unlawful practices and forced her to quit due to the disability discrimination and retaliation she experienced.

Disability discrimination violates Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to monetary relief for Mitchell, the consent decree resolving the lawsuit provides for other important relief, including an injunction prohibiting further disability discriminatory practices; institution of policies and procedures to address such problems; training for employees and managers on disability discrimination; posting a notice advising employees of their rights under the ADA; a provision requiring an employment offer to Mitchell into a vacant salad station or sandwich station position; a positive letter of reference; and a letter of apology for Mitchell.

?Employers with 15 or more employees must comply with the ADA,? said EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O?Neill. ?Employers must make employment decisions based upon the abilities of their applicants and employees, not based on myths, fears or stereotypes about a person?s disability. The ADA was passed so that people with disabilities get a fair chance at making a living and have equal employment opportunities.?

EEOC Deputy District Director Elizabeth Cadle added, ?The EEOC is gratified to see that this employer is taking important preventive and curative steps to address discrimination based on a person?s disability or perceived disability. We are pleased with this employer?s willingness to provide an appropriate resolution for Ms. Mitchell, as well as the company?s commitment to provide anti-discrimination training and other relief.?

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.www.eeoc.gov.

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