MCAD Digest: Bako v. Omega Foods…Dunkin’ Donuts Franchise Operator Sees Complaint Dismissed

Overview: In Bako v. Omega Foods, the MCAD found in favor of the Respondent and dismissed the complaint accusing the Dunkin’ Donuts operator of discrimination based on disability after the employee was not immediately returned to her prior shift following a nine-month medical leave of absence for breast cancer treatment. The hearing officer concluded that the Complainant had established a prima facie case of discrimination based on disability but determined that the Respondent met its burden of production by articulating “legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for not immediately rehiring” the Complainant. The Complainant did not provide evidence to show that the reasons she was not rehired were a pretext for discrimination.

Many disputed facts were resolved in favor of the Respondent, whose testimony was deemed credible and consistent with documentary evidence. In particular, the hearing officer credited the Respondent’s assertions that the Complainant rejected outright an offer of possible placement at a different location and that it was impossible to modify the work schedules of all 50 employees within the time period demanded by the Complainant to get her back to work in her original shift. Conversely, the hearing officer found the Complainant’s testimony to be “evasive and disingenuous is so many respects as to cast doubt on her credibility in general.”

Decision Date: March 11, 2016

Docket Number: 04-BEM-03073

Hearing Officer: Judith E. Kaplan

Claims: Employment discrimination based on disability and perceived disability

Prevailing Party: Respondent

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