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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Hester Foods, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Dublin Division

January 30, 2018

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Plaintiff,
v.
HESTER FOODS, INC., d/b/a KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN Defendant.

          CONSENT DECREE

         The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the "Commission") instituted this action pursuant to Section 107(a) of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12117(a) (hereinafter, the "ADA"), and Section 102 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42 U.S.C. § 1981a. The Commission's Complaint alleged that Defendant Hester Foods, Inc., d/b/a Kentucky Fried Chicken ("Defendant"), discriminated against Cynthia Dunson ("Dunson") by making unlawful medical inquiries, and subsequently terminating her employment because of her disability. Defendant denies each such allegation.

         The Commission and the Defendant thereby stipulate to jurisdiction of the Court over the parties and agree that the subject matter of this action is properly before the Court.

         The parties have advised this Court that they desire to resolve the allegations in the Complaint without the burden, expense, and delay of further litigation. Such desire to resolve the action shall not be deemed as an admission on the part of Defendant.

         It is therefore the finding of this Court, made on the pleadings and the record as a whole, that: (1) the Court has jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter of this action; (2) the purpose and provisions of ADA will be promoted and effectuated by the entry of the Consent Decree; and (3) this Consent Decree resolves all matters in controversy between the parties as provided in paragraphs 1 through 17 below.

         It is therefore ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED as follows:

         1. Defendant shall not discriminate against any person on the basis of disability or any other protected category within the meaning of ADA.

         2. Defendant shall not retaliate against any person because of opposition to any practice made unlawful under the ADA or because of the filing of a charge, the giving of testimony or assistance, or the participation in any investigation, proceeding or hearing under that statute.

         3. Defendant shall pay Cynthia Dunson the sum of Thirty Thousand Dollars ($30, 000) in settlement of the claims raised in this action. Defendant shall make payment by issuing a check payable to Cynthia Dunson. Payment shall be made within thirty (30) days after the Court approves this Consent Decree, and Defendant shall mail the check to Cynthia Dunson at an address provided by the Commission. Within ten (10) days after the check has been sent, Defendant shall send to the Commission, a copy of the check and proof of its delivery to Cynthia Dunson. Neither the Commission nor Defendant make any representation, or assume any responsibility for any tax liability, assessments, interest, penalties and/or costs that Cynthia Dunson may or may not incur on such payments under local, state and/or federal law.

         4. Within ten (10) days of the entry of this Consent Decree by the Court, Defendant shall eliminate from the employment records of Cynthia Dunson all documents, entries, or references of any kind relating to the facts and circumstances which led to the filing of EEOC Charge Number 410-2016-00765 and the related events that occurred thereafter, including this litigation. Within ten (10) days of the entry of this Consent Decree by the Court, Defendant shall change all references in its personnel records for Cynthia Dunson from "terminated" to "voluntarily resigned." Within fifteen (15) days of the entry of this Consent Decree by the Court, Defendant shall report compliance with this provision to the Commission.

         5. Defendant shall provide Cynthia Dunson with a letter of reference using the form attached hereto as Exhibit A. Within ten (10) days of the entry of this Consent Decree by the Court, the original, signed letter of reference shall be provided to Cynthia Dunson at an address provided by the Commission. Cynthia Dunson is free to disseminate the letter to potential employers. Defendant agrees that if it receives any inquiry about Cynthia Dunson from a potential employer, it will provide only the information set forth in the letter of reference in response.

         6. Within ninety (90) days of the entry of this Consent Decree by the Court, Defendant shall adopt, implement, and distribute a formal, written anti-discrimination policy, pursuant to federal equal employment opportunity laws, which shall include but not be limited to the following: the requirements of federal equal employment opportunity laws; procedures for reporting discrimination; and a procedure for the prompt investigation of employee complaints of discrimination. Defendant shall distribute to each current employee a copy of the policy within the aforementioned 90-day time period. Within one hundred (100) days of the entry of this Consent Decree, Defendant shall report compliance to the Commission. During the term of this Consent Decree, Defendant shall distribute the policy to all new employees and review it with them at the time of hire.

         7. During the term of this Consent Decree, Defendant shall post a copy of the policy described in paragraph 6, supra, in all of their restaurant facilities in Dublin, Georgia, in a place where it is visible to employees. If the policy becomes defaced or unreadable, Defendant shall replace it by posting another copy of the policy. Within 100 days after the Consent Decree is entered, Defendant will post the policy and notify the Commission that it has been posted.

         8. During the term of this Consent Decree, Defendant shall provide an annual training program to all of its managers, supervisors and employees in Dublin, Georgia. Each training program shall include an explanation of the requirements of the ADA and its prohibition against retaliation in the workplace. Each training program shall also include an explanation of Defendant's policy referenced in paragraph 6 above, and an explanation of the rights and responsibilities of employees and managers under the policy.

         The first training program shall be completed within one hundred twenty (120) days after entry of this Consent Decree by the Court. Each subsequent training program shall be conducted at approximately one-year intervals. Within ten (10) days after completion of each training program, Defendant shall certify to the Commission the specific training ...


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