A former staff member of Rep. Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson-LeeA guide to the committees: House House passes bill to roll back restrictions on unemployment drug testing Black Caucus Dems take to Senate to protest Sessions MORE (D-Texas) has filed a discrimination lawsuit against her.
The suit, brought by Mona Floyd, Jackson Lee’s former legislative director, alleges the lawmaker deliberately ignored her staffer’s vision and reading disabilities by forcing her to work long and extended hours with no breaks.
Jackson Lee’s office said the lawmaker supports equal employment but that it was not planning to comment on matters pertaining to inner-office affairs.
“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, chief of staff for Jackson Lee, said in a statement.
Floyd, who stopped working for Jackson Lee last fall, is seeking “back and front pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages and attorneys’ fees and costs” and is pushing for a trial by jury, according to the suit.
The complaint states that Floyd informed Jackson Lee and her staff on numerous occasions of her vision disability, called “monocular vision, which causes eye fatigue and strain, headaches, reduced speed in reading, reduced concentration and comprehension, and general physical fatigue.”
The disability requires Floyd to take periodic breaks from reading throughout the day. But according to the lawsuit, Jackson Lee did not take appropriate steps to ensure those breaks occurred and to the contrary, piled so much work on Floyd that she often would work seamlessly from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m.
The lawsuit also takes a stab at Jackson Lee’s legislative track record, saying her treatment of Floyd runs contrary to her public support for the Americans with Disabilities Act and the disabled community.
“Representative Jackson Lee’s dismissive response to her staff member’s own disability proved that the Representative was not a true advocate for persons with disabilities, but instead only paid lip service to that constituency,” the lawsuit states.