Saturday, April 24, 2010

Louisiana woman sues state police, saying they fired her because she is deaf a few days before her retirement


BATON ROUGE, La. -- A Baton Rouge woman is suing Louisiana State Police after she said the agency fired her just days before retirement, because she is deaf. Louisiana State Police said that was not the case.

Camille Brewton has been deaf her entire life and claims she was harassed at work. Brewton's attorney, Jill Craft, filed the lawsuit April 22, arguing her client was not given the proper accommodations as spelled out in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

"I've suffered in silence for 10 years, Brewton said. "I'm very depressed and I want to tell the world."

The main part of the lawsuit alleges Louisiana State Police failed to provide Brewton with an interpreter, although they say she used a video messaging device.

"I need interpreters for meetings with my lieutenant, captain, with my supervisors or anyone," she said.

Brewton said what makes her situation even worse is that she planned to retire on May 1. Now that she has been fired, she claims she will not get her retirement match from the state.

Officials with Louisiana State Police sent Brewton a termination letter, spelling out why she was fired. They claim she was not following proper procedure in her department and said she was sloppy with clerical work.

"She was counseled several times on her job expectations and her job responsibilities and was provided training and the tools to be successful," said Lt. Doug Cain, spokesman for Louisiana State Police. "Numerous supervisors noticed deficiencies in her work. We didn't factor retirement into our decision. Our decision was solely based on job performance, as the letter indicates."

Brewton said she had enough vacation time to take her to her retirement. Cain could not speak on her time left or status of her retirement package. Several other state agencies all said they have interpreters available.