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LAWSUITS NEWS & LEGAL INFORMATION

Fired Detention Officer Sues Under Texas Labor Law, Seeks Reinstatement

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Greenville, TXA Hunt County woman who has filed a Texas Employment lawsuit against her former employer will have her case heard in federal court. In her Texas labor and employment lawsuit, Laurie Stafford claims that the Hunt County Sheriff's Office knew about her disability when she was hired in late 2009—only to be placed on administrative leave, after which her employment was terminated a little more than two months after her hiring.

Stafford is suing Hunt County, as well as Sheriff Randy Meeks. Her trial will be heard in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas at Dallas following a motion by attorneys on both sides of the dispute to have the trial moved from 196th District Court.

Stafford was hired as a detention officer by the Hunt County Sheriff's Office on December 8 of last year. As summarized in the July 18 edition of the Greenville Herald-Banner, the plaintiff claims that the personnel director with the sheriff's office was fully briefed about her condition: myopia (nearsightedness) and astigmatism.

According to the text of the lawsuit, Stafford was ordered to submit to an eye exam two days after her hiring. The results of the exam, it is alleged, suggested that it would be "extremely difficult" for Stafford to function within the control facility of the jail given the room's low lighting and bright control panels.

Things appeared to go from bad to worse for the plaintiff in the New Year. According to the suit Stafford was ordered, on January 29, 2010 to remedy her disability within 90 days, or face termination. Less than a month later that potentiality became reality for the plaintiff, after she was placed on administrative leave February 15.

Stafford's employment was terminated a week later.

In her Texas Labor Law suit, Stafford claims that not only did the Hunt County Sherriff's Office know about her disability at the time she was hired, there was no effort to accommodate her disability in an effort to assist her in performing her job. It is reported that Stafford filed a complaint with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over the matter.

Her Texas labor and employment lawsuit alleges disability discrimination, violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act, together with negligent supervision and training on the part of the defendant. Stafford is seeking monetary damages, and the plaintiff also is seeking to be re-hired.

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READER COMMENTS

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I made a suggestion for improvement to a senior supervisor. He loved the suggestion, but forwarded my e-mail to four of my direct supervisors. They were furious and thought I bypassed them, had a secret meeting to develop a gameplan against me, and have been retaliating for months with false accusations, improper writeups, lies, etc. One of them e-mailed the others about it and I have the email. Recently the company passed out a form for all to complete about whether or not you are disabled. I completed it and said I was. Last thursday a fellow employee called me on my personal phone to tell me I was being "set up." Monday the company fired me on a false technicality, which if it were true would have been grounds for a "write-up" at best per company policy. I am one of the top five agents in the company. I have very good documentation.

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