Ricky Washington submitted a job application to McDonalds in June 2012, in which he disclosed his disability by informing the fast food giant that he attended the Kansas School for the Deaf.
The McDonalds store, located in Benton, Missouri, gave his application a green score, meaning he would be “very likely to be successful in crew member job.” Pursuant to company policy, the store manager called Washington on July 31 and scheduled him for an August 3 interview.
On August 2, Washington’s sister, who was planning to serve as his interpreter, called to reschedule the interview, due to a prior conflict. The store canceled the interview and, despite repeated requests, refused to reschedule.
Washington filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC notified McDonalds of its intent to sue this past June. After failing to reach an agreement, the EEOC filed a federal lawsuit [PDF] December 21.
“People with disabilities have one of the highest unemployment rates in the country,” EEOC Regional Attorney Andrea G. Baran said in a news release. “Providing equal employment opportunities to all job applicants – including those with disabilities – is not just the law, it is good for our economy and our workplaces.”
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers must provide reasonable accommodation to people with disabilities during the hiring process. The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Missouri, accuses the company of violating this mandate by refusing to allow Washington to interview with the assistance of a sign language interpreter.
The EEOC is seeking backpay, compensatory and punitive damages against McDonalds.