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Adams County, Colorado

The female plaintiff, a high school student who is deaf, was denied employment as a busser in a hotel restaurant due to her deafness. The EEOC intervened on the plaintiff’s behalf. The defendant contended that the plaintiff was not denied employment based upon her disability, but rather due to her age.

The plaintiff, who was almost 17 years old at the time, applied with the defendant John Q. Hammons Hotels, which operates the Holiday Inn-North Glen, for available positions including bussing tables in the restaurant, serving banquets or delivering room service. Although the plaintiff is deaf, she communicates by signing, reading lips, writing and speaking, and has won several awards based upon her excellent communication skills.

The hotel manager told the plaintiff that she was not qualified for the room service position due to her disability. He did say, however, that he could give her a job bussing tables in the restaurant and had her report to the defendant’s human resource director for orientation. When the plaintiff saw the human resource director, she was informed that the defendant had to check with their corporate office to determine if the hotel had a policy against hiring deaf people. The plaintiff was informed that the hotel would be in touch with her. They never called her back.

When the plaintiff’s mother called about the status of her daughter’s job application, she was informed that her daughter was too young to be employed by the hotel, despite the fact that they had employed other students under the age of 17 for those same positions. The mother was advised to have the plaintiff come back when she turned 17 and they would give her a job in the laundry, where they did not have to worry about her disability.

The plaintiff contended that the hotel intentionally discriminated against her based upon her disability. The EEOC joined with the plaintiff and brought suit against the defendant, alleging violation of the plaintiff’s civil rights and violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. p 7 3 The defendant contended that it did not discriminate against the plaintiff based on her disability. The defendant contended that its decision not to offer the plaintiff an employment position with the hotel was, in fact, based solely upon the fact that she was under 17 years old.

Prior to trial, the matter was resolved. The defendant agreed to pay the plaintiff $________ and to provide training to prevent employment discrimination and retaliation.

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