EEOC sues Cheesecake Factory on behalf of deaf dishwasher

December 21, 2016

SEATTLE (AP) — The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing the Cheesecake Factory restaurant chain, saying the company failed to provide a sign language interpreter or other accommodations for a deaf part-time dishwasher at its downtown Seattle location.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, says Oleg Ivanov was hired to work at the restaurant in 2014, but managers showed him training videos that lacked closed captioning. As a result, officials say, Ivanov didn’t learn that he was supposed to frequently check his work schedule because it could change with little notice.

The lawsuit says he was fired for missing a shift and that in disciplinary meetings he wasn’t provided a sign-language interpreter. It seeks back pay and other damages.

In an email Wednesday, Cheesecake Factory Inc., based in Calabasas Hills, California, said it provides reasonable accommodations to any of its staff members needing one.