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February 19, 2003

Hotel settles job-bias lawsuit

From: Denver Rocky Mountain News, CO - 19 Feb 2003

Holiday Inn operator to pay deaf student rejected for job in '98

By John Accola, Rocky Mountain News
February 19, 2003

The operator of Northglenn's Holiday Inn has agreed to pay $75,000 to a deaf former high school honor student who alleges she was rejected as an applicant for busing tables.

John Q. Hammons Hotels, the Missouri-based company that manages the hotel, also will provide annual training for its staff to prevent employment discrimination, according to a consent decree entered with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The EEOC sued Hammons on behalf of plaintiff Katie Cue two years ago in a federal discrimination suit that alleged the Holiday Inn's managers determined Cue, then a senior at Thornton High School, was not qualified because of her hearing loss.

"This is a classic Americans with Disabilities Act case where someone is not hired because of their disability," said Cue's private Denver attorney, David Fine.

Hammons agreed to the settlement without admitting or denying liability. Company officials could not be reached late Tuesday.

Cue, who went on to graduate third in her class, is now a sophomore at the University of Colorado. Fine said his client has a 90 percent hearing deficiency and communicates in both sign language and lip reading.

"She's very happy with the settlement," Fine said. "With the consent decree, she knows its impact goes far beyond just Katie."

The EEOC said it filed the suit after conciliation efforts with Hammons failed to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement.

"Disability does not mean inability," said EEOC's Denver director, Francisco Flores.

Joe Mitchell, the agency's senior trial attorney, said Cue was "extremely competent and deserved a chance to work" but was told when she applied in 1998 to reapply for a laundry-room position when she turned 18. or (303) 892-2666

2003 © The E.W. Scripps Co.