John Woods had a traumatic brain injury, but had long been able to work as a server at Outback Steakhouse. Outback had determined that he was able to perform the central job functions and let him work. But, when a new manager took over, she fired John for not being able to properly perform the same job. Just because a manager changes, an employer cannot change a disability analysis with it. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), employers cannot discriminate based on an employee’s disability or even perceived disability.
As expected, Woods filed a lawsuit against Outback. After Outback’s motion for summary judgment was denied, Outback quickly moved to settle the case paying $65,000 and agreeing to other enact other changes with its employment practices. Since Outback servers make on average $17,074 (including tips), that represents 3.8 years earnings.
Moral of the story: don’t fire disable employees for being disabled – and especially after a previous manager determined that the employee could perform the job.
If you even think that your employment rights have been violated or that you might need an employment lawyer, then call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at (216) 273-3742. The Spitz Law Firm is dedicated to protecting employees’ rights and solving employment disputes.
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