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.