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Woman's reasonable accommodation results in disciplinary action

In order to perform optimally, many disabled employees with medical conditions may require some special needs. Texas employers that have workers with disabilities are required to provide a reasonable accommodation to assist them. If a worker is denied access to an accommodation or is disciplined for using it, there may be legal options to fight back.

A former employee for a behavioral health center accused the company of retaliating against her and not rehiring her because she needed an accommodation. The woman was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and found it necessary to wear athletic shoes while working. She needed to wear those type of shoes because of the pain, numbness and tingling she was experiencing from her illness. The company reportedly allowed her to wear the shoes, but apparently began to to discipline her after several years.

The plaintiff 's symptoms worsened as time went on, and she requested additional accommodations; those claims were allegedly refused. The woman wrote a letter about the issue and was then laid off. When she tried to come back to work, the company allegedly would not rehire her even though the position was empty. She filed a complaint with the EEOC and won her case against the company. She was awarded $309,000, and the facility will also be required to take action to prevent this type of disability discrimination in the future.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers are required to provide a reasonable accommodation upon request to those who qualify. Texas workers who discover that they are in similar situations may first try to resolve the issue with their employer before taking legal action. In successfully navigated claims, the employees may be awarded monetary damages and any lost income compensation as well as any other financial redress deemed just by the court. The employees may also be returned to their former positions, if applicable.

Source: ksdk.com, "Agency to pay former employee $309K", Brandie Piper, Dec. 31, 2014

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