ROCKVILLE, MD -- A hearing-impaired former employee of the Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Greater Washington, Rockville, MD, is suing the organization for discrimination.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed the lawsuit on behalf of Carole Schulman last month in the United States District Court in Greenbelt, MD. Schulman was demoted from a nursery school assistant teacher at the JCC to a mailroom clerk position. She worked at the JCC from December 2005 until June 30 of this year.

The lawsuit alleges that the JCC engaged in “unlawful employment practices,” which included “declaring Schulman unable to perform her assistant teacher position with or without a reasonable accommodation.”

Schulman has been hard of hearing for more than 20 years but has a cochlear implant in one ear that gives her partial hearing, allowing her to hear high-pitched noises, such as “children laughing and talking,” the lawsuit states. The lawsuit also says that Schulman was “at all times willing and able” to perform the functions of her position as assistant nursery school teacher “with or without reasonable accommodation.”

“We are surprised by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s action,” Michael Feinstein, JCC CEO, wrote in an e-mail statement to The Gazette of Gaithersburg, MD. “The inclusion of those with special needs and respect for every individual are core values of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington.”

Schulman previously filed a complaint against the JCC with the EEOC some 30 days before filing the lawsuit which claimed the JCC violated Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the lawsuit.