Robbie Hargett Nov. 20, 2015, 2:56pm


A Tyler professor is suing a local junior college, alleging employment discrimination.

Richard Tabu filed a lawsuit Nov. 18 in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas against Tyler Junior College, alleging employment discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In August 2006, the suit states, Tabu began working as a full professor in Tyler Junior College's computer science department. The plaintiff suffers from obstructed lacriminal ducts, which prevents his eyes from producing tears and also prevents him from effectively teaching face-to-face classes in a classroom, the lawsuit states. As a result, in October 2013, Tabu requested he be allowed to only teach online classes, but his request was denied.

In January 2014, Tabu was forced to request medical leave of absence, exhausting all of his paid leave with the college, the suit says. Tabu again requested accommodation in August 2014. The department head offered to allow him to trade sections with his colleagues, but the human resources director denied this accommodation, offering Tabu only an adjunct professor position teaching one or two online classes for the Fall 2014 semester, the lawsuit states.

The suit alleges the college has continued to deny the plaintiff a reasonable accommodation that would result in his teaching a full schedule, and this violates his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Tabu seeks back pay with monetary benefits and interest, compensatory and other damages, attorney fees, and costs of the suit. He is represented by attorney William S. Hommel Jr. of the Hommel Law Firm in Tyler.

Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas case number 2:15-cv-01773-RWS-RSP.

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