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Disabled waitress sues after Houston restaurant raises bar

by on
in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Nick’s Restaurant and Sports Bar in Houston faces an EEOC lawsuit after it allegedly stopped accommodating a disabled em­­ployee. A waitress at the bar has achondroplasia dwarfism. As a result she could not reach the bar at the main wait station to retrieve drink orders. She could perform all the other job functions, but required an accommodation for this particular one.

The former manager provided a lower shelf behind the bar so the waitress could reach her drink tray.

When a new manager took over, he told the waitress she could no longer go behind the bar to collect her drink orders. Instead, she had to climb onto a bar stool to take her tray, even though she risked falling each time she did. When she complained, the manager reduced her hours and ultimately fired her.

Her EEOC lawsuit also alleges the new manager sexually harassed her with unwelcome sexual comments and physical contact.

The suit seeks back pay, plus compensatory and punitive damages, as well as a permanent injunction prohibiting Nick’s from engaging in any further discrimination.

Note: Anytime an employer discontinues an existing accommodation, it must demonstrate that the accommodation caused an undue hardship. That is a tough sell if the accommodation has been in place and apparently working for an extended time period.

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