McDonald’s charged for violating ADA

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged McDonald’s Corporation and McDonald's Restaurants for violating federal law by refusing to accommodate and hire a deaf applicant. See EEOC v. McDonald’s Corp. and McDonald's Restaurants of Missouri, Inc., Case 4:15-cv-01004-FJG (Dec. 21, 2015).[1] As per company information, McDonald's has been serving over sixty-nine million customers per day across 100 different countries.


On June 20, 2012, Ricky Washington applied online for a job at a McDonald’s restaurant in Belton, Missouri. Washington’s interview was cancelled by the Belton restaurant’s manager on having learnt that Washington needed a sign language interpreter for his job interview. The interview was never rescheduled despite Washington’s sister volunteering to act as the interpreter.


Although his job application indicated that he was fit for the job, given his prior experience at a McDonald's restaurant in Louisiana in 2009 as a cook and clean-up team member and having received education at the Kansas School for the Deaf, yet the interview was never rescheduled despite several attempts of contact by Washington and his sister. Instead, the restaurant management continued to interview and hire new workers after August 2, 2012. Consequently, EEOC filed a lawsuit against Oak Brook, the Illinois-based McDonald’s Corp. and McDonald’s Restaurants of Missouri Inc. in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Missouri after its first attempt to reach a pre-litigation through the conciliation process settlement. McDonald’s was sued for engaging in unlawful employment practices in violation of Section 102 of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12112(a) and (b), by failing to provide Washington, a qualified individual with a disability, reasonable accommodation during the hiring process.


The EEOC further alleged that the unlawful employment practices complained of were intentional or malicious or reckless indifference to Washington’s federally protected rights, because of which he was deprived of equal employment opportunities as well as affected his status as an employee.


After all “[r]emoving obstacles in the hiring process for people with disabilities is a national priority for EEOC,” said James R. Neely Jr., EEOC’s St. Louis district director. “All employers, but especially large ones, should join with the agency to make sure everyone has equal access to the employment process.



[1] See “Complaint and Jury Demand” at:







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