More on EEOC complaint vs Hobby Lobby
Here's some more on the Hobby Lobby case with comments from the former employee:
A Rochester woman’s complaint of discrimination against her former employer — the craft store Hobby Lobby — is spurring a lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
“I never did it for money,” says Julie Tufts of why she filed the complaint in 2006. “I didn’t want any other human being to be treated like this.”
Tufts began working for Hobby Lobby in 2005 as a part-time employee. Tufts, who has been considered disabled since 1996 and had a pancreas transplant in 2003, says she suffered from neuropathy that caused her to have little feeling in her legs.
In the course of climbing up and down ladders at the store, she says she did not realize she had injured her right ankle, tearing the tendons.
That injury caused her doctors to say she could not bear any load on that ankle, she says. That meant using a wheelchair.
Tufts says when she attempted to return to Hobby Lobby in the wheelchair, she was told to come back “when she was healthy.”
“I told them I am healthy. I can work,” Tufts says.
Store management told her that all employees must be able to carry 40 pounds up and down a ladder, she says.
A call to Hobby Lobby’s corporate office for comment on her case was not returned.
Her leg did not heal and she continued to use a wheelchair and continued to return to the store each week to ask to work. Eventually, her trips to the store became monthly.
The answer remained the same, she says: Come back when you are healthy.
After about a year of this, Tufts was officially dismissed from the Hobby Lobby store on April 14, 2006.
She went to an attorney, saying she believed her firing was discrimination. She was told a lawsuit would be long and expensive.
However, the attorney filed her complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
This week — more than a year and a half later — the EEOC filed a lawsuit against Hobby Lobby.