Congresswoman Under Fire For Alleged Disability Discrimination
A member of Congress who has publicly supported the Americans with Disabilities Act now stands accused of denying reasonable accommodations in the workplace.
The allegation comes in a lawsuit filed by Mona Floyd, who has a visual disability, against her former employer U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas. Floyd alleges that during the seven months in 2010 that she worked as legislative director and chief counsel for Jackson Lee, the congresswoman failed to accommodate her disability and made disparaging comments when modifications were requested.
Now Floyd is suing in U.S. District Court, seeking “back and front pay” in addition to compensatory and punitive damages.
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According to the suit, Floyd reads 20 to 30 percent slower than average. What’s more, her speed is reduced even further if she’s not given an opportunity to rest her eyes periodically.
Floyd says she was assured prior to being hired to Jackson Lee’s staff that her needs would be accommodated. However, soon after taking the job, Floyd was assigned so much reading that she had to work from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. regularly to keep up, the lawsuit says.
“I don’t care anything about your disability,” the complaint indicates that Jackson Lee told Floyd when the issue was raised.
The comment came not long after Jackson Lee had expressed her support for the ADA at a congressional hearing, according to the suit.
Ultimately, Floyd says in the lawsuit that she resigned last fall because of the “intolerable working conditions.”
Representatives for Jackson Lee are keeping quiet on the matter.
“The office of U.S. Representative Jackson Lee considers internal personnel matters confidential and will not comment publicly on the allegations at this time, except to say that the office fully embraces and fully practices equal employment opportunities for all,” Glenn Rushing, Jackson Lee’s chief of staff, said in a statement.