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Disabled employee wins lawsuit against San Diego hotel

After an employee with autism was fired from his job at a San Diego hotel, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit claiming that the man had been discriminated against because of his disability.

The lawsuit alleged that the man was wrongfully terminated from his position as a clerk and that his employer had failed to address the employee's special needs. By failing to address and accommodate his needs, the employee did not receive the proper training and help that he needed in order to learn how to successfully do his job.

The lawsuit was filed in 2008 and claimed that the hotel operator, Tarsadia Hotels, which was doing business as Comfort Suites, failed to honor the autistic employee's rights by violating the American with Disabilities Act and the Civil Rights Act.

According to the lawsuit, Comfort Suites Mission Valley hotel hired the autistic man in a front desk clerk position. However, during the man's period of employment at the hotel, he was disciplined several times by his employer for his performance.

The lawsuit claimed that the man's employer should have hired an onsite job coach who could have helped train the autistic man so that he could learn how to better perform his duties and to be a productive worker. Instead, the San Diego hotel denied the man's right to a job coach and fired him.

After recently reaching a settlement in the employment discrimination case, Comfort Suites will be required to pay the autistic man $125,000 for damages resulting from the wrongful termination. The hotel has also agreed to undergo training to ensure that all employees understand the rights of disabled workers in the workplace and how to better accommodate employees with special needs.

Source: Sign On San Diego, "Man with autism wins suit against hotel," Lori Weisberg, Nov. 7, 2011