Cheesecake Factory Sued by EEOC Under ADA Over Denial of Accommodation to Deaf Employee

Now it is the Cheesecake Factory’s turn to face the legal music of an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit.

In a suit filed today, the agency alleges that the restaurant giant violated the Americans With Disabilities Act by denying a deaf employee’s request for ¬†orientation training with either closed captioned video or American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation.

Although his employer was aware that Oleg Ivanov was deaf prior to his hire as a part-time dishwasher, the company failed to respond to his requests for accommodation and unilaterally decided to rely on passing back and forth written notes to communicate with him at his June 2014 interview, post-hire orientation and significant meetings, the EEOC charged

The EEOC found that Ivanov was provided inadequate training (also without accommodation for being deaf) on the company’s online scheduling system and timekeeping process, leaving him at a disadvantage in tracking his constantly changing work hours.

EEOC charges that in September 2014, The Cheesecake Factory fired Ivanov alleging attendance issues–after he reminded them that he was deaf and had not been provided with an ASL interpreter for his orientation training.

“Under the ADA, employers must interact with the employee who has a disability to find an accommodation that works for both of them,” said Nancy Sienko, Director of EEOC’s Seattle Field Office. “Mr. Ivanov clearly communicated that he needed an accommodation to ensure that he could succeed at the job he was hired to do, but instead The Cheesecake Factory chose to fire him.”

Learn more about the case here.

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