A federal district court jury awarded a Subway restaurant employee $166,500 in a disability discrimination suit. After a trial in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, the jury concluded that Bobrich Enterprises Inc., which operates Subway restaurants in Dallas, violated the ADA by harassing a hearing-impaired employee.
According to the EEOC, Bobrich owner Robert Suarez and one of his managers teased and mocked Tammy Gitsham because of her impairment and because she wears a hearing aid. The EEOC also alleged that Bobrich executives created a hostile-work environment, which compelled Gitsham to quit her managerial position after 18 months.
The jury awarded $66,500 to Gitsham for lost pay and emotional harm, plus $100,000 in punitive damages against Bobrich. Bobrich plans to contest the verdict, pursuing its argument that Gitsham is not covered by the ADA because her hearing aid corrected her impairment.
- Stick to objective standards to avoid needless litigation
- Consider having a witness to employee meetings
- Abercrombie & Fitch docked $115,000 for disability bias
- Managers—Even HR Managers!—May Be Personally Liable for Disability Harassment
- It's up to employee to connect dots between alleged bias, protected status