EEOC Gets $60K for Claustrophobic Hair Stylist Denied Reasonable Accommodation by Salon

In denying a reasonable accommodation to a hair stylist who has claustrophobia, a Texas  hair salon cost itself $60,000.

That’s the price it took for Minnesota-based Regis Corporation, doing business as SmartStyle, to settle an Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuit brought against it by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of former hair stylist Nora Jacquez.

According to EEOC, Regis denied Jacquez an accommodation for her claustrophobia and then fired her.

EEOC said Jacquez was hired as a hair stylist in January 2014 at the company’s Midland location.  Due to her claustrophobia, Jacquez could not work at a salon station if it was in a confined space located between others.  Although at first she was assigned to a more open station at the salon, the company later moved her to work between other stylists.

Despite repeated requests to continue working in her original spot, Regis refused to move her back to a station that would allow her to not feel claustrophobic and increase the potential for episodic anxiety attacks.  This decision by Regis resulted in a physical reaction that sent Jacquez to the hospital emergency room for treatment for her claustrophobia.

EEOC also claimed when Jacquez needed two months off from work to undergo medical treatment, the company failed to follow through to assist her with the necessary paperwork for medical leave and fired her.

Read more about the lawsuit and settlement here.

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