Store Supervisors Bullied Learning-Disabled Employee, Federal Agency Charged
DENVER – Dillon Companies, Inc., owners of the King Soopers supermarket chain in Colorado, will pay $80,000 to a mentally challenged employee who worked at its Lakewood, Colo., store and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
According to the EEOC’s suit, filed on Sept. 18, 2009, King Soopers supervisors Gabby Sedillos, a head clerk, and Rachael Scott, a service manager, repeatedly subjected a ten-year employee, Justin Stringer, to repeated bullying and taunting because of his learning disability. The EEOC alleged that this harassment ultimately led to Stringer’s termination.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Dillon Companies, Inc., Case No. 09-cv-02237-ZLW-MEH) in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to the monetary settlement, King Soopers will provide training to all of its supervisors and managers about the ADA and how to properly interact with employees with special needs. King Soopers will also make periodic reports to the EEOC concerning all complaints of disability discrimination for the next three years.
“Employees with disabilities must be treated with the same dignity and respect as all other members of the work force,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill. “The EEOC will continue to enforce the ADA to protect the rights of disabled employees and applicants.”
Nancy Sienko, director of the EEOC’s Denver Field Office, added, “We commend King Soopers for working with our Denver Field Office to resolve this case, and for its commitment to education about the ADA. We believe this resolution will help foster a discrimination-free workplace.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. The Phoenix District Office covers Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Arizona and part of New Mexico. Further information is available on the EEOC’s website at www.eeoc.gov.