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Maine Human Rights Commission finds that diner in Belfast discriminated against a disabled employee

On January 24, 2011, the Maine Human Rights Commission (MHRC) unanimously found that there were reasonable grounds to believe that Dudley’s Diner discriminated against Kelly Chipman because of her vision problems. The Diner, located in Belfast, Maine, fired Ms. Chipman on March 5, 2009 because of her vision problems. Dudley’s Diner argued that Ms. Chipman’s vision problems made her unsafe to carry coffee and other hot beverages. The MHRC found that Dudley’s Diner made this decision based on unproven assumptions about Ms. Chipman’s disability. Under the Maine Human Rights Act, an employer must perform an individualized assessment of a person with a disability to determine if she is actually unable to perform her job safely before it can terminate her for safety reasons.