The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

PRESS RELEASE
9-22-09

KING SOOPERS SUPERMARKETS SUED BY EEOC FOR DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION

Learning-Disabled Worker at Lakewood Store Was Harassed and Fired Because of His Disability, Federal Agency Charges

DENVER – Dillon Companies, Inc., owners of the King Soopers supermarket chain in Colorado, intentionally and unlawfully discriminated against one of its learning-disabled employees, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit announced today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Justin Stringer, who served as a courtesy clerk at a King Soopers store in Lakewood, Colo., from 1995 to 2006, was subjected to repeated taunting and threats by a head clerk and an acting store manager because of his disability. The EEOC further alleges that, despite his proven ability to perform his duties and a good work history, Stringer was ultimately fired because of his disability.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed the lawsuit (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 voluntary settlement. The suit seeks monetary damages, including back pay, compensation for emotional distress and punitive damages. The EEOC also seeks injunctive relief prohibiting further discrimination by the employer and mandating corrective action, including reinstatement of Stringer to his former position.

“Unfortunately, individuals with learning disabilities continue to be the object of harassment by those who would like to replay the sophomoric pranks of schoolyard bullies,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill. “Lawsuits such as this one will remind employers that workers with disabilities must be treated with the same dignity and respect as other valuable members of the work force.”

EEOC Denver Field Office Director Nancy Sienko added, “This nation’s commitment to protecting people with disabilities from workplace discrimination is as strong as ever. The EEOC intends to fulfill that commitment through vigorous enforcement of the Americans With Disabilities Act in cases such as this one.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.

This page was last modified on September 22, 2009.

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