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Deaf woman claims she was fired for filing a discrimination claim

Texas workers with disabilities are most likely well aware that the Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities so long as those accommodations are not unduly hard on business operations. This includes providing interpreters for employees who are deaf. This requirement is a key element in a lawsuit filed by a deaf woman who claims she was fired for filing a discrimination claim against Starbucks.

The woman filed the discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission because she was denied an interpreter by Starbucks for training sessions, staff meetings and other work events. After seven years of employment, she was suddenly terminated. Starbucks claims it was because her tattoos were visible.

The Arizona woman claims that she was actually fired in retaliation for filing her EEOC claim. She supports her claim by saying that she had visible tattoos for the duration of her employment, and they did not pose any problem until after the filing of her claim. She is requesting monetary damages, along with her job back and an injunction against Starbucks to prevent them from discriminating and retaliating against its employees. 

It will be up to the courts to determine the veracity of her claim that she was fired in retaliation for filing the discrimination claim with the EEOC. There is most likely ample legal precedent for the court to draw from since this woman is hardly the first employee to make these claims. Texas residents who believe that they were subjected to discrimination or retaliation may also find that their best recourse is to file a lawsuit seeking monetary and/or non-monetary damages as this woman did.

Source: eater.com, "Starbucks Sued for Discrimination by Deaf Former Employee", Whitney Filloon, Oct. 21, 2015

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