Hobby Lobby sued for disability discrimination after firing employee with service dog
The civil rights watchdog is accusing arts and crafts retailer Hobby Lobby of violating federal law after it fired a Kansas employee who wanted to bring her service animal to work.
Hobby Lobby is now facing a federal disability discrimination lawsuit from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) after failing to settle with the former employee.
The part-time employee, referred to as SC, suffers from PTSD, anxiety and
After meeting with Human Resources to discuss the details of his request, SC received a denial letter in October.
Although Hobby Lobby allows customer service animals in stores, it was concerned that “a co-worker or customer might be allergic or trip over the dog, or the dog might break something,” according to a Press release of the EEOC.
“Service animals help people with many types of disabilities – from vision and mobility impairments to seizure disorders and mental health issues – to live and work independently,” said David Davis, acting director of the EEOC’s St Louis District Office in a statement. “Employers should not reject service animals, or other reasonable accommodations, based on stereotypes or assumptions about the safety or effectiveness of the accommodation.”
After her request was denied, SC took a week off to complete her service dog training at the end of October 2020. When she returned with the dog and a new request for accommodation, her manager sent her home. she, local news reports.
Ultimately, she was fired for “leaving the job,” according to the lawsuit. The EEOC is seeking back wages, punitive damages and reinstatement of the terminated employee.
Hobby Lobby did not respond to a request for comment Saturday afternoon.
In 2014, Hobby Lobby was embroiled in another legal battle over employee health care after filing a lawsuit to cover employee contraceptives with health insurance.
In Burwell v. Hobby Lobbythe Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, ruling that it is unconstitutional to require private for-profit businesses to adhere to regulations that owners religiously oppose under the 1993 restoration of religious freedom.