Texas Dept. of Aging and Disability sued for discriminating against deaf employee

Texas Dept. of Aging and Disability sued for discriminating against
deaf employee


By Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau

SHERMAN – A hearing-impaired state employee has filed a lawsuit against
a Texas governmental agency for violating the Americans with
Disabilities Act by terminating her under false pretenses.

Cecelia J. Garrett filed suit against Texas Department of Aging and
Disability Services on July 11 in the Eastern District of Texas,
Sherman Division.

Garrett, who is deaf, was hired by the defendant for a position with
the Denton State Supported Living Center. The position was for an MRA-I
for the day shift at the Pine Ridge – Residential care facility in
Denton. She was scheduled to begin training orientation on April 1,
2011. Due to a lack of interpreter, Garrett’s training was postponed
until May 2.

Despite receiving confirmation that she was hired to work on the day
shift, Garrett was placed on the night shift. Garrett made repeated
requests to be moved to the day shift as originally represented.

The requests were denied and Garrett filed a charge of discrimination
with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Within two weeks of
the complaint, she was terminated from her position allegedly for not
being suited for her assigned position, the suit states.

The defendant is accused of disability discrimination under the
Americans with Disabilities Act and for retaliation against Garrett by
terminating her under false pretenses.

The plaintiff is asking the court for an award of damages for back pay,
front pay, compensation for loss of benefits, compensatory damages for
pecuniary losses, emotional pain, suffering, and inconvenience,
punitive damages, interest, attorney’s fees, and court costs.

Garrett is represented by Barbara T. Hale and Jeffrey D. Smith of
Blanscet Hooper & Hale in Addison.

A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Richard A. Schneider is assigned to the case.

Case No. 4:12-cv-00423



1 comment for “Texas Dept. of Aging and Disability sued for discriminating against deaf employee

  1. Tony Banning
    July 24, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    I completely empathize with Ms. Garrett. My wife was disabled by the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services over a year ago. Before that time she and I had a very difficult time with her hearing disability. Alot of fights that almost led to divorce caused great undue stress and hardship for us before she was diagnosed with severe hearing loss. Since then she has continued to make every effort to live a quality life. At that time the state of Texas or DARS (I don’t know, I’m just stating what I do know) declared that her tuition would be covered if she attended a college or university in Texas. From what I understand, that benefit is still in effect. Regardless of her state benefit and condition, she is having her wages garnished by the federal government to repay some student loans which she incurred when she was in better health over 6 years ago. Can this be reversed? Is this what our country has come to? That a disabled person, living on minimum wage, having a state benefit where her higher education is covered, has her wages garnished to repay something she is entitled to for free?

    If anyone knows of a law firm that may be able to help us as well feel free to contact me.

    Tony Banning
    [email protected]

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