Federal Appeals Court Holds that Resigning Alabama Corrections Officer Cannot Sue for Disability Discrimination if Provided an Opportunity to Appeal His Pending Termination


policyBy Mitchell Riese and Mathias M. Deeg

In Williams v. Alabama Dep’t. of Corrections, the U.S.Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit determined that a Corrections Officer’s resignation could not be considered an adverse employment action on the part of his employer if he was provided with reasonable alternatives to resignation. The Court found the employer’s offer to hold a formal hearing at which the Officer could tell his side of the story to be a sufficient alternative to immediate resignation.

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Court Holds Alabama Fire Chief Who Raised Possibility of Discriminatory Motivation Covered by ADA Despite Direct Violations of Work Rules

fire putter outBy Mitchell Riese and Mathias M. Deeg

In Green v. Pike Rd. Volunteer Fire Protection Authority, the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Alabama upheld a Fire Chief’s claim of disability discrimination despite the existence of non-discriminatory reasons for his termination. The Court found that the employer’s comments about the Fire Chief’s past drug and alcohol use cast enough doubt on the stated motivation for his termination to send the case to trial.

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Illinois Police Commander Unable to Perform the Essential Functions of Job Cannot Sue for Disability Discrimination

back injury

By Mitchell Riese and Mathias M. Deeg

In Briscoe v. Village of Vernon Hills, the U.S. district Court for the Northern District of Illinois held that that a former Police Commander that was unable to perform the essential functions of his job with or without reasonable accommodation by Vernon Hills could not prevail on a claim of disability discrimination. The court found that the Commander’s inability to work removed him from the protection of the ADA.

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U.S. Court Of Appeals Decides That ADA Does Not Protect Oregon Police Officer With ADHD

By Erica Shelley Nelson and Brennen Johnson

adhdIn Weaving v. City of Hillsboro, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that an Oregon police officer with ADHD could not qualify as disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prevented him from asserting the ADA’s protections. In his lawsuit, the Officer alleged that the City violated the ADA by terminating him because of this ADHD. At trial, a jury agreed with him and awarded over $775,000 in damages, including back-pay and front-pay, as well as attorney’s fees. However, the Court of Appeals reviewed the case and overruled the verdict after determining that the Officer’s ADHD did not present symptoms that were severe enough to qualify as a disability under the ADA.

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D.C. Corrections Officer’s Diabetes Was Not A Disability Under The ADA Because It Was Not “Substantially Limiting”

By Reba Weiss and Harrison Owens

yes or noIn Coleman-Lee v. Government of the District of Columbia, a U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed a D.C. District Court’s dismissal of a correctional officer’s lawsuit for disability discrimination.  In his complaint, the correctional officer argued that he was discriminated against when he was terminated for falling asleep on the job, which he claimed was caused by his diabetes.  The jury found that the officer was not disabled within the ADA’s definition, as he did not show that he could not have controlled his diabetes.  The Court of Appeals affirmed the jury’s decision, as his case was not appealed correctly.

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Worker Cannot Bring Lawsuit Against County Because Waited Too Long to File Complaint

By Reba Weiss and Harrison Owens

snoozeIn Kuehn v. Snohomish County, the Washington State Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a Road Maintenance worker’s claims against the County for wrongful termination and disability discrimination in violation of Washington’s Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) and Family Leave Act (WFLA).  In his suit, the worker claimed that the County wrongfully terminated him for repeated tardiness allegedly caused by a sleeping disorder, and wrongfully decided to discontinue accommodating his disability.  The trial court found that the worker waited too long to file his lawsuit, and granted the County’s motion for summary judgment.  The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court, holding that the legal time-limit to file the worker’s lawsuit began its countdown from the moment he received notice of his impending termination from his employer.

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Corrections Officer Could Bring Claim For Violation Of ADA When Wrongfully Demoted Because Of His Disability

By Reba Weiss & Harrison Owens

demotion 2In Allen v. Baltimore County, a Maryland District Court allowed a corrections officer to continue with his claim for disability discrimination under the ADA against his employer.  In his complaint, the officer claimed that his employer had caused him to sign a demotion agreement and terminated him because he suffered from an inflammatory disease.  The District Court found that the officer could have performed his job if his employer had accommodated his disability, such as by allowing him time to take his medication or giving him light duty.

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Court Bailiff Sues City for Failing to Accommodate a Shoulder Injury that Allegedly Prevented Him from Firearm Qualification

By Erica Shelley Nelson and Brennen Johnson

disability issuesIn Michael v. City of Troy Police Dep’t, a U.S. District Court dismissed a lawsuit for disability discrimination brought by a former police officer against the City of Troy, Michigan. In his lawsuit, the Officer claimed that the police department wrongly believed he was disabled and then placed him on unpaid leave based on that belief. He also claimed that the City failed to provide any reasonable accommodations for what it perceived to be a disability before placing him on leave. The Court determined that the lawsuit should be dismissed because the Officer was not entitled to a reasonable accommodation and, even if he was, the City had legitimate reasons for denying those accommodations to the Officer.

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Former New York Correctional Officer Can Bring Disability Discrimination Claim to Trial

By Reba Weiss and Brennen Johnson

Disability-Discrimination-120x120In Sherman v. County of Suffolk, a U.S. District Court determined that a former correctional officer presented legitimate allegations that the County of Suffolk, New York, discriminated against him based on his disability. In his lawsuit, the former officer alleged that the County discriminated against him based on a leg injury he sustained during training as a recruit. The County then filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that there was no evidence to prove that discrimination was the reason that the former officer lost his job. Although the County convinced the Court that no medical evidence could support an inference that the Officer actually suffered from a disability, the Court concluded that reliable evidence suggested that the County still perceived him as disabled and fired him because of that perception.

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City Improperly Relied on Former Officer’s History of Mental Illness Rather than Her Current Mental Health Status to Reject Her Application

By Mitchell Riese and Mitchel Wilson

possible threatIn Nelson v. City of New York, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York denied the City’s motion for summary judgment and permitted the plaintiff’s disability discrimination claim to go to trial. The Court reasoned that there was no clear evidence that the former officer could not perform the essential functions of the job and that the issue was proper for trial.

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