Autistic man James Kwon applied for a job at a Chick-fil-A in Orland Park, Illinois in the summer of 2014. At the time he and his jobs coach visited the restaurant, the manager was not available. The 25-year-old man’s jobs coach then returned later and inquired about the position.
According to a complaint filed December 23, 2016 in the U.S. District Court, the coach was told by the branch manager that “‘Chick-fil-A was not interested in hiring people with disabilities.’ When the job coach reiterated that she thought James would do a good job, the branch manager stated that ‘people with disabilities would not be able to succeed at Chick-fil-A.'”
The comment and actions by the Chick-fil-A manager is a clear violation of Kwon’s rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Kwon filed a complaint against Chick-fil-A of Orland Park FSU and Chick-fil-A, Inc.
During the initial contact with the manager, Kwon’s job coach pointed out at the time that Kwon had successfully completed a work study Baker’s Square in the fall and winter of 2013. Responsibilities there included cleaning menus, cleaning windows and entry doors, vacuuming and sweeping floors, busing and cleaning tables and booths, taking out the garbage, and cleaning walls and ledges. According to the manager at Baker’s Square, Kwon fulfilled his duties capably and diligently. The reason Kwon didn’t continue there was that the work study program came to its natural end.
Under the ADA, the manager should have at least considered the applicant. By not doing so, the complaint claims that Chick-fil-A discriminated against the plaintiff for the following reasons:
•· Stated it would not hire any person with a disability.
•· Failed to make an individualized assessment of plaintiff’s ability to perform the essential functions of the job.
•· Failed to examine whether a reasonable accommodation would address any concerns about plaintiff’s ability to perform the essential functions of the job.
•· Failed to hire plaintiff.
Additionally, the lawsuit claims that the defendant acted with “malice and reckless indifference” Kwon suffered injuries including “lost wages and emotional distress.”
If you feel that you have been discriminated against because of a disability, it would be wise to consult with an attorney with experience in the rights of the disabled. They may be able to provide options about how to protect your rights.