Deaf man alleges he was fired because of disability

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Feb 4, 2013

HOUSTON - John McCaskill has filed a lawsuit against American Fire Systems Inc., alleging he was fired because he is deaf.  

The suit, filed Jan. 28 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas, asserts that McCaskill was the subject of disparate treatment because of his impairment.

AFS hired the plaintiff as a sprinkler fitter apprentice on July 5, 2008.

McCaskill, who wears a hearing aid and can read lips to communicate, says he made the company well aware of his inability to hear but "subjected [him] to acts of discrimination" nonetheless.

He claims his superiors told him that his disability was holding him up while his co-workers teased him for how he talked, adding a colleague even wrote that he was "not worth a s***" on his hard hat.

The original petition further shows other workers made lewd comments about the complainant's wife.

McCaskill also recalls a time in which a worker named Carlos purportedly hit him in the head and caused his hearing aid to fall out of place.

A supervisor allegedly ordered the plaintiff not to file a complaint in response to the attack or he would lose his job, the suit says.

AFS dismissed McCaskill after he injured himself lifting parts out of a box in June 2009.

According to court papers, the respondent cited excessive absences as its reason for the firing though McCaskill believes the company was retaliating against him.

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney Albert T. Van Huff with Monshaugen & Van Huff PC in Houston is representing McCaskill.

Case No. 4:13-CV-198

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