Texas Dept. of Aging and Disability sued for discriminating against deaf employee

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Jul. 17, 2012, 6:26am


SHERMAN - A hearing-impaired state employee has filed a lawsuit against a Texas governmental agency for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by terminating her under false pretenses.

Cecelia J. Garrett filed suit against Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services on July 11 in the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division.

Garrett, who is deaf, was hired by the defendant for a position with the Denton State Supported Living Center. The position was for an MRA-I for the day shift at the Pine Ridge – Residential care facility in Denton. She was scheduled to begin training orientation on April 1, 2011. Due to a lack of interpreter, Garrett's training was postponed until May 2.

Despite receiving confirmation that she was hired to work on the day shift, Garrett was placed on the night shift. Garrett made repeated requests to be moved to the day shift as originally represented.

The requests were denied and Garrett filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Within two weeks of the complaint, she was terminated from her position allegedly for not being suited for her assigned position, the suit states.

The defendant is accused of disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act and for retaliation against Garrett by terminating her under false pretenses.

The plaintiff is asking the court for an award of damages for back pay, front pay, compensation for loss of benefits, compensatory damages for pecuniary losses, emotional pain, suffering, and inconvenience, punitive damages, interest, attorney's fees, and court costs.

Garrett is represented by Barbara T. Hale and Jeffrey D. Smith of Blanscet Hooper & Hale in Addison.

A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Richard A. Schneider is assigned to the case.

Case No. 4:12-cv-00423

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