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Texas Agency Seeks Dismissal of Employee’s Claims

The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) wants the state Supreme Court to disallow a former employee to bring a lawsuit against the agency for failing to accommodate his prostate cancer treatments.

In a May ruling, the Texas First Court of Appeals denied psychologist David Donaldson’s claims that he was discriminated against due to his race and disability, but it did allow one part of his lawsuit — that DADS did not provide reasonable accommodations to him — to move ahead. Attorneys representing DADS are now seeking to have the state Supreme Court dismiss that claim, as well.

In a petition for review filed in late June, DADS stated that the First Court of Appeals decision wrongfully obtained a failure to accommodate claim out of a frivolous claim of disability discrimination. The agency’s attorneys also argue that the decision could open the doors to more discrimination claims that would not meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Donaldson started work as a psychologist at the Brenham State Supporting Living Center in 2008. Court records show that he was regularly reprimanded for performance issues, including allegedly falling asleep during a meeting and failing to complete paperwork on time. He reportedly told his supervisors in April 2010 that he would be undergoing prostate cancer treatment, and after being reprimanded for submitting an incomplete report shortly thereafter, requested an assistant to help him with his job.

DADS accommodated the request, but Donaldson took a medical leave of absence from July to September 2010. In October, he filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). He was fired in April 2011 after being subject to another disciplinary action.

Donaldson’s attorney said that he would be filing a cross-petition for review, possibly including the race and discrimination claims in that petition.

When an employee makes allegations of discrimination or wrongdoing, it’s important for businesses and organizations to respond quickly. To learn more, speak with a skilled Dallas attorney at Whistleblower Law for Managers.

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