Sprouts to pay $280K to settle EEOC lawsuits

DENVER — Sprouts Farmers Market will pay $280,000 to three people and take additional actions to settle lawsuits filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a press release from the group’s Denver office said.

Sprouts is a trade name of Phoenix-based SFM LLC. The EOOC said the three people applied for jobs with the grocery store chain and sought American Sign Language interpreters for their interviews. The EEOC alleged Sprouts didn’t provide them and didn’t respond to additional accommodation requests.

The alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, the EEOC release said, as it involves discrimination based on disability. The ADA requires reasonable accommodation to job applicants with disabilities, depending on difficulty and expense to the employer.

A three-year consent decree that settles the suits provides for the payments, future compliance with the ADA, revision of the chain’s ADA policies, new written guidance on accommodation and apologies to the three people involved.

“Deaf and hard-of-hearing people face barriers to employment not encountered by other applicants and employees. This settlement highlights the EEOC’s commitment to breaking down those barriers,” said Amy Burkholder, director of EEOC’s Denver office.

Sprouts locations in Northern Colorado and the Boulder Valley include Loveland, Longmont, Lafayette, Greeley, Westminster and two each in Boulder and Fort Collins.

© BizWest Media LLC