Chick-fil-A is regularly regarded as the fast food chain with the friendliest customer service, but a recently filed lawsuit alleges the chain’s hiring practices aren’t as nice. An Illinois man claims he was denied a job at Chick-fil-A because he has autism, Courthouse News reports.
James Kwon says he “was blocked from applying” for a job at an Orland Park, Ill., Chick-fil-A because of his disability, according to a court filing from December 23. That would be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The lawsuit claims Kwon completed a work-study program at another Orland Park restaurant in 2013, and he worked with a job coach to land a full-time position at Chick-fil-A in 2014. But, a branch manager allegedly did not allow the 25-year-old to apply.
“The branch manager responded that Chick-fil-A was not interested in hiring people with disabilities,” the lawsuit states. “When the job coach reiterated that she thought James would do a good job, the branch manager stated that people with disabilities would not be able to succeed at Chick-fil-A.”
The ADA prohibits businesses from discriminating against qualified individuals due to any disability. Kwon is seeking lost compensation and benefits, back pay with interest, compensatory, and punitive damages.
Update: December 29, 2 p.m. A representative for Chick-fil-A notes that each restaurant in the chain is individually owned and operated. Kevin Bulmann, owner of the Orland Park location, denies Kwon’s allegations.
“Chick-fil-A at Orland Park is aware of Mr. Kwon's lawsuit and strenuously denies violating any laws,” Bulmann said in a statement provided to Eater. “Our restaurant does not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities. The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigated Mr. Kwon’s allegations and did not find cause to believe that discrimination occurred.”