Claims of discrimination and retaliation are at the center of a lawsuit involving the state’s most popular tourist attraction, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.
A former employee claims she was terminated after requesting accommodations for her disability.
Discriminated against, retaliated against and then ultimately terminated. That’s what the federal lawsuit is alleging.
Tara Sweeney’s attorney Eric Artrip tells us she was hired to be the Vice President of Space Camp back in July of 2018.
He said Sweeney told her supervisor ahead of time she suffered from relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis and requested to be allowed to wear a polo shirt and shorts in the summer months to avoid flare ups.
“Ms. Sweeney told Ms. Barnhart about her condition upon hiring and was assured there wouldn’t be a problem with this and everything would be fine,” Artrip said.
The complaint alleges that isn’t what happened.
Sweeney claims she was confronted about her clothes and was told she needed to wear something more professional like a suit and long pants. This came after she already told her supervisor about the adjustment her illness may require,
“She brought that up at a staff meeting the following weeks and she was met with derision and mockery. She was terminated within days of asking for the 2nd time,” he said.
Artrip said this is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“This leads us to believe her termination was a direct result of her request for accommodation,” he said.
We reached out to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center for a comment about the lawsuit and was told there would be no comment on pending litigation.
The plaintiff is asking for damages including back pay and her legal fees be covered.