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Disabled Target employee alleges workplace discrimination

Many workers in Maryland struggle with physical and mental disabilities daily. In some cases, workers who suffer from such disabilities might face mistreatment in the work place. However, suit filed July 23 on behalf of an autistic Target employee in Texas show that some victims of harassment may be able to pursue legal compensation for damages in such cases.

The lawsuit seeks compensation from Target Corporation on accusations of race and color discrimination, retaliation, and disability discrimination. The suit claims that the plaintiff, a Caucasian man who also suffers from dyslexia and impaired mobility due to rods in his back, had been assigned to menial tasks and had his schedule shifted frequently since he began employment in 1993.

The lawsuit alleges that he suffered significant harassment from his predominantly black coworkers and a supervisor beginning in 2009, and he reported the bullying to the human resources department, which allegedly resulted in intensified harassment. After another attempt to report the hostile environment in 2011, his full-time work week was reduced to only five hours weekly. An Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint filed after the work reduction has yet to benefit the plaintiff, according to reports.

When a disabled worker is subjected to unfair treatment that appears connected to his or her impairment, that person may have grounds to pursue remedies in a civil action. Pay stubs, emails and other communications could help correlate a termination or a major reduction in hours or pay to an employee's attempt to report abuses.

Approaching accusations of racism may require particular caution. For an employee who genuinely feels that racial discrimination has occurred, an experienced attorney may be able to offer advice regarding the finding unbiased witnesses and approaching potentially sensitive accusations in a way that preserves the integrity of the case.

Source: Southeast Texas Record, "Target sued by employee who cites racial, disability discrimination in the workplace", Matt Russell, July 29, 2014

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