Hotel Owners Agree to Settle Disability Discrimination Case for $100K

By Insurance Journal staff | January 4, 2024

The owners and operators of a hotel in Omaha, Nebraska, have agreed to pay $100,000 to a former general manager and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the suit, the general manager worked at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites – Omaha Downtown, which is owned and operated by Anant Enterprises, L.L.C.; Anant Operations, Inc.; and Farnam Lodging, L.L.C. (collectively Anant). In the fall of 2019, the general manager advised his direct supervisor, Anant’s V.P. of Operations, that he was going to be away from work because he was going to the hospital for treatment for depression. Two days later, on the same day the general manager was discharged from the hospital, his supervisor told him he was fired because the company was afraid he might hurt other people.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination based on disability. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Anant Enterprises, L.L.C., et al., Civil Action No. 8:22-cv-345) in U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement via its conciliation process.

The EEOC alleged Anant failed to conduct an individualized assessment of the general manager’s ability to perform the essential functions of his job with or without reasonable accommodation at the time of his discharge, and instead fired him based on fears and stereotypes regarding his disability, depression.

The consent decree prohibits Anant from terminating employees on the basis of disability, requires Anant to adopt policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the ADA, ensures all employees receive copies of and annual training on those ADA policies, and requires additional recurring ADA training for all of Anant’s owners, general managers, and human resources personnel. Anant will also regularly report to the EEOC regarding any employees who are terminated after requesting an accommodation for a disability or taking leave for a disability.

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