Can I sue a restaurant for not hiring me because of my disabilities?

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Can I sue a restaurant for not hiring me because of my disabilities?

I have facial paralysis and I’m deaf in one ear. The restaurant I applied to is known for hiring a specific type of girl. I’m fairly confident in my looks and you can’t tell I have a disability until I begin to talk, which they noticed in the interview. I believe that this is illegal and I also think that I’m protected by the Disability Act.

Asked on May 5, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You *may* have a cause of action. You are correct that an employer may not discriminate against a propospective employee or job candidate on account of a disability if they can make a reasonable accomodation. The question is, whether a reasonable accomodation is possible, which means could you reasonable do the job with some assistance. For example--a friend of mine is deaf in both ears. Even with his hearing aides, he could not work in a restaurant as a server, since when there is background noise--as there typically is in a restaurant--he could not hear or understand the orders from customers. So depending on the extent of your condition--both hearing and also speech (IF there is any speech impediment)--you may not be able to work in this position. Also, you may be turned down for unrelated issues--e.g. if you have no experience, but they wanted an experienced server.

From what you write, it would be worthwhile to consult with an employment attorney, who can evaluate all the facts and advise you as to whether or not you have a case.


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