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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA

WESTERN DIVISION

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT
OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION,





Plaintiff,

CIVIL ACTION NO. 5:13-CV-00647



COMPLAINT

JURY TRIAL DEMAND



























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v.

TRIDEV HOSPITALITY, LLC,


Defendant.







NATURE OF THE ACTION

This is an action under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as

amended (the “ADA”), and Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, to correct unlawful

employment practices on the basis of disability and to provide appropriate relief to Robert Betts

(“Betts”), who was adversely affected by such practices. The Equal Employment Opportunity

Commission (the “Commission”) alleges that Tridev Hospitality, LLC discharged Betts in

retaliation for engaging in protected activity, in violation of the ADA.



JURISDICTION AND VENUE

1.

Jurisdiction of this Court is invoked pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 451, 1331, 1337,

1343 and 1345. This action is authorized and instituted pursuant to Section 107(a) of the ADA,

42 U.S.C. § 12117(a), which incorporates by reference Sections 706(f)(1) and (3) of Title VII of

the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1) and (3), and pursuant to

Section 102 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42 U.S.C. § 1981a.

Case 5:13-cv-00647-D Document 1 Filed 09/12/13 Page 1 of 6

2.

The employment practices alleged to be unlawful were committed within the

jurisdiction of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina,

Western Division.

PARTIES

3.

Plaintiff, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, is the agency of the

United States of America charged with the administration, interpretation and enforcement of

Title I of the ADA and is expressly authorized to bring this action by Section 107(a) and Section

503(c) of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12117(a) and § 12203(c), which incorporates by reference

Sections 706(f)(1) and (3) of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1) and (3).

4.

At all relevant times, Defendant Tridev Hospitality, LLC, a North Carolina

limited liability corporation, has continuously been doing business in the State of North Carolina

and the City of Raleigh, and has continuously had at least 15 employees.

5.

At all relevant times, Defendant Tridev Hospitality, LLC has continuously been

an employer engaged in an industry affecting commerce under Section 101(5) of the ADA, 42

U.S.C. § 12111(5), and Section 101(7) of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12111(7), which incorporates by

reference Sections 701(g) and (h) of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e(g) and (h).

6.

At all relevant times, Defendant Tridev Hospitality, LLC has been a covered

entity within the meaning of Section 101(2) of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12111(2).

STATEMENT OF CLAIMS

7.

More than thirty days prior to the institution of this lawsuit, Betts filed a charge

with the Commission alleging violations of Title I of the ADA by Defendant. All conditions

precedent to the institution of this lawsuit have been fulfilled.




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8.

On or around September 13, 2012, Defendant engaged in unlawful employment

practices at its Raleigh facility in violation of Section 102 of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12112(a) and

(b) when it discharged Betts in retaliation for engaging in protected activity.

9.

Robert Betts was employed by Defendant Tridev Hospitality, LLC, which

operated a Rodeway Inn in Raleigh, North Carolina (hereafter “the hotel”). Betts worked as a

Night Auditor at the hotel beginning around June 21, 2012. Betts was responsible for front desk

coverage from midnight to 8 a.m.

10.

Betts is a qualified individual with a disability. Betts suffers from depression and

panic attacks. Betts uses a service animal as an accommodation for the panic attacks. After

Betts began working for Defendant, he began bringing his service animal to work with him.

Initially, he did not discuss his need for use of the service animal with Defendant’s management.

11.

On or about September 4, 2012, Defendant’s General Manager asked Betts about

his service animal. Betts explained that he had a disability and needed the use of his service

animal because of his disability. Betts also provided the General Manager with his service

animal registration card issued by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

12.

On or about September 5, 2012, Defendant’s General Manager presented Betts

with an evaluation.

The evaluation

rated Betts as excellent

in Work Quality,

Attendance/Punctuality, Initiative and Dependability; good in Job Knowledge; and fair in

Communication/Listening Skills.

13.

On or about September 6, 2012, Betts presented the General Manager with a letter

disputing the rating of “fair” in communication. Betts also discussed the use of his service

animal in the letter. Betts explained that the reason why he did not disclose his service animal

before he was hired is because he does not “wish to wear his disability on [his] sleeve” because it



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embarrasses him. Betts explained that his use of a service animal and his disability did not

interfere with his job performance in any way.

14.

On or about September 13, 2012, Betts learned that his work hours had been

reduced. He called the General Manager and explained that he was upset that his hours had been

reduced and that he thought the General Manager was discriminating against him due to his

disability. The General Manager responded that Betts didn’t have to come into work anymore.

Betts then told the General Manager that he was going to go to file a discrimination complaint

against Defendant and the General Manager. The General Manager then fired Betts. Betts was

fired in retaliation for opposing employment discrimination, in violation of the ADA.

15.

The effect of the practices complained of above has been to deprive Betts of equal

employment opportunities and otherwise adversely affect his employment status because he

engaged in protected activity.

16.

17.

The unlawful employment practices complained of above were intentional.

The unlawful employment practices complained of above were done with malice

or with reckless indifference to the federally protected rights of Betts.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

Wherefore, the Commission respectfully requests that this Court:

A.

Grant a permanent injunction enjoining Defendant, its officers, successors,

assigns and all persons in active concert or participation with Defendant, from discriminating

against individuals because their disabilities, including discrimination in hiring, firing, and any

other employment practice which discriminates on the basis of disability.




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B.

Grant a permanent injunction enjoining Defendant, its officers, successors,

assigns and all persons in active concert or participation with Defendant, from retaliating against

individuals for engaging in protect activity.

C.

Order Defendant to institute and carry out policies, practices, and programs which

provide equal employment opportunities for disabled persons, and which eradicate the effects of

its past and present unlawful employment practices.

D.

Order Defendant to make Betts whole by providing appropriate backpay with

prejudgment interest, in amounts to be determined at trial, and other affirmative relief necessary

to eradicate the effects of its unlawful employment practices, including but not limited to

reinstatement or front pay in lieu thereof.



E.

Order Defendant to make Betts whole by providing compensation for past and

future pecuniary losses resulting from the unlawful employment practices described above, in

amounts to be determined at trial.

F.

Order Defendant to make Betts whole by providing compensation for past and

future non-pecuniary losses resulting from the unlawful employment practices complained of

above, including emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, humiliation, loss of enjoyment of life,

loss of civil rights, and other non-pecuniary losses, in amounts to be determined at trial.

G.

Order Defendant to pay Betts punitive damages for its malicious and reckless

conduct described above, in amounts to be determined at trial.

H.

Grant such further relief as the Court deems necessary and proper in the public

interest.

I.






Award the Commission its costs of this action.

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JURY TRIAL DEMAND

The Commission requests a jury trial on all questions of fact raised by its Complaint.

DATED this the 12th day of September, 2013.





































Respectfully submitted,

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY
COMMISSION

P. DAVID LOPEZ
General Counsel

JAMES L. LEE
Deputy General Counsel

GWENDOLYN YOUNG REAMS
Associate General Counsel
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
131 M Street, NE
Washington, DC 20507










/s/ Lynette A. Barnes
LYNETTE A. BARNES
Regional Attorney
Charlotte District Office
129 W. Trade Street, Suite 400
Charlotte, N.C. 28202













/s/ Zoë G. Mahood
ZOË G. MAHOOD
NC Bar No. 21722
Senior Trial Attorney
Raleigh Area Office
434 Fayetteville Street, Suite 700
Raleigh, NC 27601
Phone: (919) 856-4180
Fax: (919) 856-4156
[email protected]

ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFF


















































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