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Veteran claims his service dog was permissible under the ADA

Many brave men and women fight daily to keep our country free. When these veterans return, it can be difficult for them to assimilate back into the workforce. Some Texas veterans may require reasonable accommodations to accomplish the adjustment back to civilian life. Companies that deny requests for necessary accommodations may be found in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

After serving in the military overseas, a man who subsequently found work with Schlumberger Technology Corp. as a maintenance worker claims that he was denied a reasonable accommodation for his post traumatic stress disorder. Those who support service animals believe that dogs may be helpful in assisting veterans with this condition. The plaintiff believed that a service dog would help him and requested that he be able to bring his service dog to work after he struggled with suicidal thoughts and had a panic attack on the job.

Schlumberger claims it requested medical documentation from the plaintiff stipulating the use of the dog but that it took a long time to receive it. The information that was received was not fully completed, and allegedly, the doctor who had signed for the dog was not actually treating the plaintiff for PTSD. After months of attempting to bring the dog to work, the plaintiff filed a complaint with the EEOC and wrote an email to the company CEO requesting the dog. That same day, the plaintiff was given permission to bring the service animal to work. The company contends that the plaintiff brought the dog to work,  but then stopped, which supposedly proved that he never really needed the service animal.

The plaintiff is suing the company for the time period that he was not allowed to have the dog, which he believes denied him a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. He is seeking punitive and compensatory damages. Texas workers who believe that they have been denied reasonable accommodations that are covered under the ADA have the right to file claims against their employers.

Source: mrt.com, "Lawsuit over service dog in workplace goes to trial", Patrick Danner, March 17, 2015

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