Newport Beach Hotel Company Dishes Out $132k for Firing of Front Desk Clerk with Autism

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Comfort Suites and its parent company Tarsadia Hotels of Newport Beach have agreed to pay $132,500 to settle a discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of an autistic front desk clerk who was fired.

The companies must also change its employment practices and operations as a result of the settlement announced Monday, according to the EEOC.

San Diego nonprofit Partnership with Industry had sent a job coach to the Comfort Suites Mission Valley Hotel to help the unidentified front desk clerk with "autism-specific training techniques." But, according to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Los Angeles in September 2010, the worker's supervisors barred the coach and made repeated disparaging remarks about the employee's condition.

Under the terms of the settlement, the fired employee will receive $125,000 and Partnership with Industry gets $7,500. Tarsadia also agreed to what the EEOC calls "sweeping" changes to its employment practices, including revising its policies and procedures regarding Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, hiring an EEOC consultant to train all employees on ADA rights and responsibilities, and requiring managers and supervisors to submit their employee evaluations for compliance review. The company must also submit regular progress reports to the federal agency.

"A reasonable accommodation is often minimal in cost and merely involves open communication between the employer and employee to make it work," says Marla Stern, director of the EEOC's San Diego office, in a statement. "The results can make all the difference for people with disabilities, allowing them to succeed in the workplace."


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5 comments
Alva
Alva

The EEOC really should be dissolved.

909Jeff
909Jeff

I think their are a lot of details left out... Was his or her "disability" disclosed upon their applying for the job?  Was the Coach interfering with the operation of the hotel and the ability of management to run day to day operations?  and then I have to dispute this statement.

"A reasonable accommodation is often minimal in cost and merely involves open communication between the employer and employee to make it work,"

Often times to make accommodations under the ADA employers have to make drastic changes to their workplaces such as constructing wider doors building ramps installing elevators etc... Not only are the construction costs burdensome but the permits and inspections by the city are also costly and time consuming.  

mitch young
mitch young

Many autistic people can function well enough to do a lot of jobs. Hotel desk clerking in a customer service job, requiring a lot of interaction with people -- precisely the thing even high functioning autistics have serious difficulties with. In other words, this is ridiculous. Make the clerk  'night auditor' or give him or her a job changing sheets. 

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

Why? So unscrupulous employers can practice discrimination more freely? I'm so sorry the rights of working people are so bothersome for you.

Guest
Guest

Mitch - I have read your comments before and agreed with your points, but I respectfully disagree with you on this one. Humans who are so unfortunate as to have a disability should not be stuck in a night auditor job or merely changing sheets. Just like you, they should have every opportunity to get the same enjoyment out of life that you are entitled to. Seriously, they've got it really tough and should be given many breaks. Perhaps you will have a child with autism one day and you will understand.

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