Former fast food worker awarded $15.4 million in disability discrimination lawsuit

The fast food industry is notorious for poor labor practices that range from denying workers their rightful wages to ignoring complaints about sexual harassment. Employees may hesitate to speak up about workplace misconduct out of fear of retaliation or believe there is nothing they can do. However, there are ways to ensure employers do not get away with labor violations.

In a recent case, a former longtime employee of Jack in the Box was awarded nearly $15.4 million. She sued the fast food giant for age and disability discrimination, hostile work environment, retaliation and wrongful termination.

Blanca Ramirez worked as a supervisor at Jack in the Box in San Fernando, California, from 2001 until she was fired in 2013 at age 53. She suffered two job-related injuries in February and June 2013. The first injury occurred when a box fell on her from a high shelf. She got hurt a second time due to a fall.

As part of her disability discrimination claim, Ramirez alleged Jack in the Box failed to offer accommodations that would allow her to continue working. Instead, her boss allegedly called her “grandma” because of the way she moved around the restaurant in an effort to avoid further injuries. Ramirez experienced further belittling and harassment after her second injury. When she complained to her employer, she was subjected to retaliation that included being forced to work the graveyard shift once a week.

Jack in the Box maintained that Ramirez’s injury occurred when she was off duty. Additionally, the company said she was fired for manipulating the restaurant’s system for measuring employee performance. The Los Angeles Superior Court jury sided with Ramirez in deciding that she was fired due to her disabilities and age.

If you have experienced disability discrimination in the workplace, contact McCormack & Erlich to discuss your case and learn how we can help.

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