Hearing impaired salesman sues employer for lack of accommodations

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Apr. 23, 2012, 12:00pm


MARSHALL - A salesman suffering from hearing loss has filed a lawsuit against his employer claiming that the company would not provide appropriate accommodations for his disability.

Claiming violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Steven White filed suit against Broadway Home Center Inc., doing business as Southwest Floor/Carpet One on April 17 in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

According to the complaint, White was hired by the defendant in September 2002 as a salesperson. His job involved calling customers, measuring floors and selling goods and products.

By 2008, his hearing loss had progressed to a severe and profound level, and he was prevented from calling customers. He states that this substantially limited his ability to earn commissions and made him dependent on walk-in customers. In early 2009, White was fitted with hearing aids, but says that he still cannot hear on the telephone, according to the lawsuit.

White claims that his employer did not accommodate his hearing loss other than provide a volume control device that plugs into the telephone line.

The plaintiff states that his general manager would call him derogatory names, and imply that White was deaf and dumb.

White quit the job on Sept. 1, 2011, after he was chastised for failing to do a measuring job. He claims that he did not hear or understand the verbal instructions regarding the measuring job.

The defendant is accused of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to accommodate White's disability.

The plaintiff is asking the court to prevent the defendant from further acts of discrimination and for an award of damages for back pay, benefits, compensatory damages for pecuniary losses, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, attorney's fees, and court costs

White is represented by Tyler attorney William S. Hommel Jr.

A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:12-cv-00215

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