Las Vegas Sun

April 23, 2014

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Lawsuits:

Las Vegas employee suing Bank of America for failing to provide sign language interpreter

A deaf Las Vegas woman is suing Bank of America in federal court over claims that it repeatedly denied her requests for an interpreter and then fired her when her performance suffered because of the communication barrier.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the lawsuit in Nevada U.S. District Court today after failed attempts to reach a settlement, according to a press release.

The complaint contends that Bank of America violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when it rejected repeated requests by Melchora Lee, of Las Vegas, for an American Sign Language translator.

Lee started working in cash services at Bank of America in 1998. Until 2003, Lee had a supervisor who was fluent in sign language.

After the change in supervisors, Lee requested an interpreter, but the company allegedly said the accommodation would be too expensive, according to a press release.

Lee’s work suffered as a result, and she was eventually fired for poor performance in September 2010, according to the complaint.

The civil rights lawsuit demands back pay for Lee as well as compensatory and punitive damages. It also requests Bank of America be ordered to take immediate measures to prevent future discrimination and that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission be compensated for the cost of the lawsuit.

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