ATLANTA (Legal Newsline) – The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced Feb. 1 that Hester Foods Inc., a company operating a Dublin, Georgia-based Kentucky Fried Chicken, will pay $30,000 to settle allegations of disability discrimination over the termination of a manager.

According to EEOC, restaurant manager Cynthia Dunson was fired by Hester Foods’ owner in July 2015 after the owner learned Dunson had bipolar disorder and was taking medications for the disorder as directed by her doctor. Alleged conduct of this nature violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"Federal laws protect employees whose disabilities require them to take medications and employers must make accommodation for those requirements," said Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, director of the EEOC's Atlanta District Office, in a statement.

In addition to monetary penalties, which will go to Dunson, Hester Foods must create a handbook with anti-discrimination policies and disseminate it to its employees.

"Employers are not allowed to force workers with disabilities to choose between their jobs and their health,” said Antonette Sewell, regional attorney for the Atlanta District Office, in a statement. “Reasonable accommodation includes allowing workers to rely on their physicians, not on the opinions of the company managers."

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