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McCormick & Schmick's sued over firing of deaf prep cook

A lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Baltimore accuses McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant in Oxon Hill of firing a disabled prep cook in violation of federal law.

Vernon Davis, who has been deaf since childhood, was demoted from prep cook, had his hours reduced and was finally fired, though he had performed satisfactorily since he was hired in May 2008, the lawsuit said.

The suit said the restaurant demoted and fired Davis in retaliation for his complaints about mistreatment. According to the suit, Davis said co-workers mocked him and kicked boxes at him. The lawsuit seeks lost wages and damages.

A spokeswoman for McCormick & Schmick's, based in Portland, Ore., could not be reached Tuesday.

The chain has more than 80 locations across the United States, with four in Maryland, including one in Annapolis and one restaurant and an M&S Grill in Baltimore, as well as the Oxon Hill restaurant in Prince George's County.

The alleged conduct by the restaurant violates the Americans With Disabilities Act, the EEOC said. The agency said it filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt after failing to reach a pre-litigation settlement with the restaurant.

Lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

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