Express Mart to Pay $25,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination

Store Manager Refused to Hire Clerk With Tourette’s Syndrome, Federal Agency Charged

ST. LOUIS, MO (STL.News) Home Service Oil Company, doing business as Express Mart, will pay $25,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced Wednesday.

The EEOC charged that the Barnhart, Mo.-based company, which operates nine Express Mart convenience stores near St. Louis, violated federal disability discrimination law by failing to hire a job applicant with Tourette’s syndrome and neurofibromatosis for a part-time sales clerk position at its Cedar Hill, Mo., store because of his medical conditions.

According to the EEOC, the store manager refused to consider the applicant for employment because of his noticeable facial tic caused by his medical conditions.  The EEOC alleged the store manager told her assistant store manager that she did not want such an individual working in the store and threw away his application.

Such alleged hiring discrimination violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from refusing to consider qualified job applicants because of their physical or mental disabilities.  The EEOC filed its lawsuit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Home Service Oil Co. d/b/a Express Mart, Civil Action No. 4:19-cv-02645JAR) in 2019 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

The three-year consent decree settling the suit, entered by Judge John A. Ross, requires Home Service Oil Company to pay compensatory damages of $25,000 to the discrimination victim.  In addition to other relief, the company will encourage job applicants with disabilities to apply for open positions; ensure that it has strong policies and procedures in place to prevent disability discrimination; provide training to managers regarding disability discrimination; provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees and applicants; and report complaints of disability discrimination to the EEOC.

“We appreciate Home Service Oil Company’s commitment to encouraging applicants with disabilities to apply for positions in their stores going forward,” said Andrea G. Baran, the EEOC’s regional attorney in St. Louis.  “People with disabilities make significant contributions to workplaces every day and are too often an untapped resource, even in a tight labor market.”

L. Jack Vasquez, Jr., director of the EEOC’s St. Louis District office, added, “A strong human resources presence is essential to ensure employers comply with the law.  With the company’s new leadership in this area, we are optimistic that this employer will offer equal employment opportunities to qualified applicants regardless of physical or mental conditions that have no bearing on their ability to perform the job.”

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  The St. Louis District Office oversees Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and a portion of southern Illinois.

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