SEATTLE (Legal Newsline) – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a lawsuit Dec. 20 against restaurant chain The Cheesecake Factory Inc. over allegations of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
EEOC claims that The Cheesecake Factory denied Oleg Ivanov’s request for orientation training with either closed captioned video or American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation. The employer was allegedly aware that Ivanov was deaf before hiring him to work part-time as a dishwasher in its downtown Seattle location. The company, however, purportedly failed to respond to requests for accommodation and attempted to use hand-written notes as communication for interview, post-hire orientation and training.
EEOC also alleges that the company failed to properly train him on how to use the online scheduling system and timekeeping process, or give him an accommodation. This made it hard for him to keep track of his ever-changing schedule. He was eventually fired for alleged attendance issues.
“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.”
EEOC seeks monetary damages for Ivanov and injunctive relief to prevent future discrimination.