CTW, L.L.C., a company that owns a Wendy’s franchise, is being sued for disability discrimination. Michael Harrison, Jr., who had previously worked at a fast food restaurant for over two years, applied for a cooker position at the Texas location. He successfully interviewed with a shift manager, he tried to complete the interview process using a telephone relay system. Harrison is hard of hearing.  When the general manager realized that he was disabled he refused his employment stating that “there is really no place for someone we cannot communicate with.” The suit that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is filing against the company includes lost wages, compensatory damages, and punitive damages as well as wide policy changes to prevent this sort of discrimination from happening to any other current or future employees.

The EEOC exists to protect workers from discrimination—that is from having employment decisions made because of something other than your abilities or performance. That’s why there are “protected statuses” like age, race, sex or disability. No one should have to face discrimination for these reasons at work. Unfortunately, many times employers will take advantage of people, who they know may be afraid of losing their employment. Standing up for yourself can be a terrifying proposition, but unfortunately you cannot always rely on your employer to make sure that all your rights are protected.  As a Seattle employment lawyer, it is my job to help those who have been treated unfairly at work to get justice, but you have to take the first step and stand up for yourself.

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