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Could a workplace accommodation cause an employee to be fired?

Many employers realize when they hire workers who are disabled, that they may be required to make some changes to the work environment. By providing a reasonable accommodation to the disabled employee, he or she will be able to perform at his or her highest potential. This workplace accommodation is required under Texas law and is to be provided when requested. In some instances, however, an employer may not wish to pay for the necessary changes and may try to find a means to terminate the employee instead.

A man who is extremely deaf had interviewed for a position as a network operations engineer in 2012. According to his complaint, during his interview he informed his supervisor that he was hearing impaired and would need some accommodations to perform his job to the best of his ability. He stated that he would need a phone to work in conjunction with his hearing aid that had wireless Bluetooth capability. The man claims that he was told that his requests could be met.

When the man started working, he claims that he did not receive the equipment he had requested. He stated that he asked his supervisors multiple times for the accommodation, but never received it. He finally discovered that he would not be receiving his request because it would necessitate an upgrade to the company's current system.

In his lawsuit, he states that after repeatedly asking for his accommodations, he was fired. The company has reported that the man lost his job because he had created a ticket, but didn't assign it. The man claims that this issue had already been taken care of internally.

The plaintiff filed a claim in a U.S. District Court in Texas against his employer for not providing his workplace accommodation for his disability. He is suing for multiple damages as well as legal fees. Employees who believe that they have been terminated after being denied a reasonable accommodation, may choose to file a claim against their employer. The worker may be entitled to receive lost wages, damages for pain and suffering and could possibly be reinstated.

Source: The Southeast Texas Record, "Deaf man claims he lost job due to disability", Kelly Holleran, May 29, 2014

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Warren & Siurek, L.L.P.
3334 Richmond Avenue, Suite 100
Houston, TX 77098

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