Bad Delivery: Papa John’s Pays $125K To Fired Employee With Down’s Syndrome in ADA Suit

What was an operating partner of Papa John’s Pizza thinking when he walked into one of their shops and ordered the firing of an employee with Down’s Syndrome after observing him working with a job coach?

Maybe he wasn’t thinking–because that action cost that particular pizza place a bundle of money to settle the Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuit that ensued.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced on Thursday that Papa John’s agreed to settle the ADA settlement for $125,000.

The EEOC filed the suit on behalf of Scott Bonn, who has Down’s Syndrome, an intellectual disability. According to the EEOC, Papa John’s employed Bonn successfully at its Farmington location for more than five months and allowed an independently employed and insured job coach to assist him.

EEOC further charged that after an operating partner visited the Farmington location and observed Bonn working with the assistance of his job coach, the operating partner ordered Papa John’s local management to fire Bonn.

In addition to the monetary payment,  Papa John’s also must review its equal employment opportunity policies, conduct training for management and human resources employees for its restaurants in Utah, and establish a new recruitment program for individuals with disabilities in Utah.

“Employers must understand that they cannot refuse to provide an accommodation to individuals with intellectual disabilities,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill. “The ADA is intended to ensure that each person with an intellectual disability has a right to work and be evaluated as an individual-not on the basis of his or her disability.”

Maybe the partner didn’t know that Bonn had a disability, but it looks like he just impulsively ordered management to fire him, when stopping and thinking and pondering on the situation might have avoided this legal entanglement with the EEOC.

For a refresher on what constitutes a disability, including intellectual disability, here is the EEOC web page on the ADA.

And here’s information the EEOC has published on the rights of employees who have mental health conditions.


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