Kroger settled recently an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit after a Jonesboro store was accused of discriminating against an employee with a vision disability.
Photo: AP/ROGELIO V. SOLIS
Photo: AP/ROGELIO V. SOLIS

Kroger settles EEOC lawsuit after Jonesboro store accused of disability violation

Kroger has agreed to pay $40,000 to settle a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission disability discrimination lawsuit after a Jonesboro store was accused of refusing to provide assistance to a worker with vision impairment during his new employee orientation. 

The EEOC filed the lawsuit on behalf of Michael Haugabrook, whose firing from the grocery giant in 2016 was a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the agency said. 

Haugabrook had accepted a clerk position that year at a Kroger store in Jonesboro. During orientation, he asked for help completing a computer-based portion of his new employment because of his vision disability, but was rebuffed by the grocery store’s management. 

He was subsequently fired after being summoned to the manager’s office. 

"All too often we see individuals with disabilities who are detrimentally impacted by assumptions and stereotypes in the workplace," Antonette Sewell, regional attorney for the EEOC's Atlanta District Office, said in a statement.

"This settlement will assist the company in complying with the ADA by fully understanding its protections for workers with disabilities and the company's responsibility to engage in an interactive process and provide reasonable accommodations," Sewell said. 

As part of the agreement, Cincinnati-based Kroger will  provide employees with vision disabilities access to magnification for computer-based and written onboarding and educate its workforce on disability discrimination via training at its Jonesboro location. 

The company also agreed to inform its employees about the lawsuit and report to the EEOC employee requests for an accommodation under the ADA.

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