The EEOC and the Comfort Suites Hotel in Mission Valley have agreed to settle a lawsuit filed on behalf of an autistic desk clerk who sought state assistance to perform his job but was fired instead. It’s a case that shows how the threat of litigation can sometimes result in greater good.
The man asked California to provide a state-sponsored job coach. Even though the job coach’s services were free, the hotel wouldn’t allow the coach to help the clerk. Eventually it fired the clerk, despite previous work experience showing that autism didn’t prevent him from being a solid employee.
After the clerk filed an EEOC disability discrimination suit, the two sides agreed to settle.
Tarsadia Hotels, the hotel’s owner, signed a three-year settlement agreement that will pay the clerk $125,000—and donate $7,500 to Partnerships with Industry, a San Diego-based nonprofit that provides employment support to people with disabilities.
But Tarsadia didn’t stop there. In addition to totally revamping its reasonable accommodation procedures and policies, it will hire a consultant to train all employees about disability rights and reasonable accommodation procedures. The consultant will hold supervisors and managers accountable for their actions in regard to disabled employees.