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Disability-based Discrimination Filed Against State Police

Posted on Apr 23, 2010 in Local Issues

Camille Brewton, a 66 year old and Baton Rouge resident, has filed a suit claiming that her firing from her position as a data entry clerk with the State Police “amounts to ‘disability- based discrimination and harassment’ as well as ‘illegal retaliation.’” She had been an employee since 1999. The suit claims that the state of “violating Louisiana and federal law, including the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act.” Along with being born deaf, Brewton is also the sole caretaker of her terminally ill husband, who suffers from dementia. She has filed for an unspecified amount of damages. Jill Craft, Brewton’s attorney, said she was dismissed eight days before her retirement became vested. Brewton cites three main discriminatory acts in her suit. First, she claims that she made numerous requests for a qualified interpreter. Once, for a job-related training the state provided an interpreter whom Brewton claims was “utterly useless” and poorly qualified to communicate with her. Second, Brewton also placed a request for a TTD, a telephone that assists the deaf in using telephone lines. In 2000, the state provided this device but refused to set up a telephone line at her desk. This meant, in order to use the TTD, she often had to retrieve it from storage and connect it to another line. Finally, in January 2009, Brewton changed supervisors and things took a turn for the worst. She was accused of faking her deafness and of being argumentative despite her lack of language skills or ability to raise her own voice. However, Lt. Doug Cain, a State Police spokesman, stated: “This certainly is not about discrimination. This is about a substandard employee who did not meet the expectations of her job.” The trial will be presided over by District judge Wilson Fields.

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