The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing Papa Johns for not allowing a blind job applicant to keep his service dog in the restaurant with him while he worked, according to a Yahoo News report.
Michael Barnes applied for and was hired at an Athens, Georgia Papa John’s, having been told his service animal would not be a problem in the restaurant.
The restaurant later recanted, telling Barnes he could work without his dog, Indie, or be fired. Barnes told restaurant management that he needed the dog to get to and from work and was subsequently fired.
The EEOC is suing on Barnes’ behalf, claiming Papa John’s discriminated against him, who said he didn’t need Indie to work and the dog could be kept away from food and people. The EEOC said Barnes’ request to keep his dog on site is protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Employers must evaluate such requests on their individual merits,” Marcus G. Keegan, the regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office, said in a news release from the EEOC. “They may not, as Papa John’s has done, reject such requests based on vague and unspecified ‘health and safety’ concerns.”
The EEOC wants Papa Johns to compensate Barnes for emotional pain, depression and more over his firing.
Pizza Marketplace has reached out to Papa John’s for a statement.
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