Half An Arm Doesn’t Mean Half A Man21 Feb 2012
As discussed in this morning's Jo Blogs LIVE webisode on my CanDoAbility website, despite Eli Pierre's disability, he didn't expect to be turned away when he was interviewed for a job at a Californian Starbucks.
Eli was born with only half of his left arm, but has never let that get in his way. Having worked within the hospitality industry for over ten years, he felt that he had a lot of knowledge and skills to bring to the position he was applying for at Starbucks.
Eli's interview took place on the 1st February this year, and the woman who was conducting the interview advised him that the syrup pumps were up to high, and even she has difficulty reaching them, therefore, he couldn't be able to work there with only one arm.
As most of us with a disability could probably relate to, it's not a nice feeling to hear someone else judge you on your physical abilities and tell you that you can't do something. I know for me personally, there's not much I absolutely can't do, I just have a different way of getting things done.
Just as I would've reacted if placed in the same situation, Eli got mad, and made a complaint to the district manager of Starbucks, Sage Nord, who responded with a message, apologizing for what he had gone through, and offering him another interview at a different store, but he turned it down. Eli told the jobs.aol.com website ‘I've been a long-time patron of Starbucks, and quite honestly, the taste in my mouth is awful for it right now'.
Not only did he have an issue with the disability discrimination that he received, but Eli also felt that the interviewer was quite unprofessional in other ways too. Having been previously employed at lingerie store Victoria's Secret, the manager who was interviewing him suggested to one of her co-workers, that maybe Eli could assist with finding her the right bra size.
Under the Americans With Disabilities Act guidelines, it is illegal for an employer to deny someone with a disability a job, if they can perform ‘essential functions' of the job alone, or with ‘reasonable accommodation'. But without even giving Eli a fair go, the person who interviewed him for the position, decided that he wouldn't be able to perform such tasks, without seeing any proof for herself.
Eli said that the interview didn't seem to be going too well, and was cut short, to around 10 to 15 minutes. He tells jobs.aol.com that he is now boycotting the coffee chain.
His lawyer decided immediately that Eli had a case against the coffee giant, and is attempting to sue them for different violations of the discrimination laws and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and admitted that he would only be satisfied, with a seven figure outcome for his client.
Starbucks is so far denying any disability discrimination, and are insisting that their decision was based on Eli's skills and his replies to the questions that they asked him. Well, that's no surprise! I believe I have been discriminated on the grounds of my disability many a times that I have applied for jobs, but no one is actually going to admit to it.
I don't know if a seven figure sum is necessarily required, but I do hope he wins. Maybe then employers will think twice about denying giving someone with a disability a go…. Who knows, they may even be shocked at how good the employee turns out to be!
To view the original article from the jobs.aol.com website, click here: http