by Patricia A. Schaeffer, Vice President-Regulatory Affairs
The EEOC has announced a favorable jury verdict of $166,500 in a disability harassment lawsuit filed against a Subway restaurant franchise on behalf of a female manager who was discriminated against and forced to resign because of her hearing impairment.
The Dallas jury awarded the manager $66,500 for lost wages and emotional harm plus an additional $100,000 in punitive damages. The EEOC claimed that the Subway owner and the human resources/training manager subjected the plaintiff to a disability-based hostile work environment, including teasing and name-calling, because she is hearing-impaired and wears hearing aids. The owner and manager repeatedly mocked her privately and in front of other employees with various taunts.
EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Suzanne M. Anderson said, “All individuals deserve the freedom to compete and advance in the workplace on a level playing field – including individuals with disabilities. Employers should proactively prevent disability discrimination by putting policies and procedures in place to ensure that employees and managers clearly understand and abide by the letter and spirit of the law.”