Lawsuit alleges Chick-Fil-A discriminates against disabled job applicants

A 25-year-old autistic man in Illinois is suing a local Chick-fil-A restaurant, and the fast-food chain's parent company, Chick-fil-A Inc., claiming he was denied a job solely because of his disability.

James Kwon of Orland Park, Ill., claims the branch manager at his town's Chick-fil-A told his job coach that "Chick-fil-A was not interested in hiring people with disabilities" and "people with disabilities would not be able to succeed at Chick-fil-A," according to the lawsuit filed Dec. 23 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division.

Kwon's attorney, Jin-Ho Chung of Equip for Equality, which advocates for people with disabilities in the state, says Chick-fil-A violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by stating it would not hire any person with a disability, by not making an individualized assessment of Kwon's ability to perform the work, and by failing to examine whether any accommodation would address Chick-fil-A's concerns about Kwon's ability to perform the essential functions of the job.

According to the current lawsuit, Kwon worked in 2013 at another restaurant as part of a work study program. His duties there "included cleaning menus, cleaning windows and entry doors, vacuuming and sweeping floors, busing and cleaning tables and booths, taking out the garbage, and cleaning walls and ledges."

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