Title: Papa John’s Pizza Settles Disability Discrimination Lawsuit for Over $100,000
In a recent development, Papa John’s Pizza has agreed to pay over $100,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by Michael Barnes, a newly hired employee who is blind. This move comes after Barnes was denied an accommodation and subsequently fired before even working a single shift at the pizza chain in 2020.
The decision by Papa John’s Pizza to deny Barnes an accommodation is a clear violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in various areas, including employment. To rectify the situation, the pizza chain has agreed to pay $175,000 to Barnes, apart from committing to train its employees on the ADA and review its employment policies.
Furthermore, as part of the settlement, Papa John’s Pizza has also allowed the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to monitor complaints of discrimination or retaliation within the company. This step aims to ensure that incidents similar to Barnes’ experience are swiftly addressed and prevented from recurring in the future.
Barnes had sought a job at a Papa John’s Pizza restaurant in Athens, Georgia, and requested that he be allowed to bring his service dog to work with him. Unfortunately, the company denied his request, leading him to file the lawsuit. The settlement not only serves as financial compensation for Barnes but also includes other forms of relief over the next two years, effectively resolving the dispute.
In response to the settlement, Papa John’s Pizza expressed its commitment to equal opportunity and maintaining a diverse and inclusive culture for all team members, irrespective of disabilities. The company acknowledges the need to learn from this incident and ensure that its employees are trained to uphold the ADA.
The EEOC, which played a crucial role in facilitating the resolution, expressed its satisfaction with the outcome and expressed its hope that this settlement would deter similar discriminatory acts from occurring again in the future.
The settlement between Papa John’s Pizza and Michael Barnes serves as a reminder about the importance of upholding the rights and dignity of individuals with disabilities in the workplace. It underscores the significance of complying with the ADA and promotes a more inclusive and harmonious work environment for all employees.