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SoCal hotel steps up after firing autistic employee

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Firing,Human Resources

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.

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