On June 15, 2010, the EEOC reported that it reached an agreement with Starbucks to settle a suit for Starbucks’ failure to hire Chuck Hannay, who suffers from multiple sclerosis. Among other terms of the agreement, Starbucks paid $80,000 to resolve the suit. Mr. Hannay applied for one of six open barista positions at a store in Russellville, Arkansas, but the store did not contact Mr. Hannay in response to his application. It instead hired other, less experienced candidates to fill the open barista positions. Starbucks reportedly worked in a cooperative manner with the EEOC to insure that similar discrimination would not occur in the future. Failure to hire individuals with physical or mental impairments that substantially limit one or more of their major life activities is illegal under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
On June 16, 2010, the EEOC issued a news release revealing that it settled a similar case against Balance Staffing. Balance’s owner and manager hired Jocelyn Snower as a recruiter. When the owner learned that Ms. Snower is blind, he immediately revoked the job offer, despite the fact that Ms. Snower is an experienced recruiter. This is an example of “direct” disability discrimination, which is unlawful under the ADA. In order to resolve the suit, Balance was forced to pay $100,000 and the owner was compelled to enter ongoing EEO training. Individuals who are subjected to such adverse treatment should contact an employment lawyer and the EEOC.