SEATTLE (Legal Newsline) – The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced Feb. 1 that The Cheesecake Factory and a wholly owned subsidiary will pay $15,000 to settle allegations of disability discrimination regarding a deaf employee.
"We are pleased that The Cheesecake Factory has agreed to work with the EEOC to help dismantle barriers that individuals with disabilities face in the workplace," said Nancy Sienko, director of the EEOC's Seattle Field Office, in a statement. "The changes will help future deaf applicants and employees at The Cheesecake Factory."
According to the EEOC, Oleg Ivanov – a Cheesecake Factory employee who is deaf – was fired for issues related to his disability. Ivanov allegedly had asked the Cheesecake Factory to provide him with either a close captioned video or an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter for his orientation. The company refused the reasonable accommodation request and later fired him, the EEOC claimed.
"All Mr. Ivanov wanted was the opportunity to work at The Cheesecake Factory on a level playing field with hearing employees, with accessible training on how to clock in for his shifts and how to use the online scheduling system,” said EEOC supervisory trial attorney John Stanley in a statement. “These changes should help alleviate the isolation that a deaf employee can experience in the workplace and equip the employee with the basic tools to succeed."