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Woman fired for being homeless? KFC manager changes story

Colorado law prevents employers from firing or refusing to hire employees based on several discriminatory factors, such as race, gender, marital status and age. Such laws are now common across the U.S. as public policy has come down against employment discrimination based on factors having nothing to do with job performance.

A woman from another state who was hired to work at a KFC restaurant only to be fired the day she was to begin says that she was told she lost her job because she is currently homeless. The woman has a letter signed by the restaurant's owner stating that she was fired "due to concerns of [a] lack of residence and transportation." The woman had been hired by the KFC on March 11 and told to report to work staring on March 18, only to be turned away that day.

In most cases, those with financial problems are not a protected class under employment discrimination laws. But in trying to explain himself the fast-food franchise owner may have admitted to age discrimination. He says that he lied about the "concerns" about her economic status to "spare her feelings" and the real reasons he reneged on the job offer were that the woman was too old to lift boxes and lacked fast-food prep experience. However, an official at the homeless shelter where the woman is living was told that it was KFC policy not to hire people who do not have permanent housing or easy access to transportation.

The woman is 59 years old. In her state as in Colorado, age discrimination is a civil offense that could expose a prospective employer to liability.

Source: Clarion Ledger, "Woman fired for being homeless," Emily Le Coz, March 21, 2013

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