Firefighter with Only One Good Eye Still May Retain Employment Rights

By Emily Nelson

panning_firetruckAnthony Rorrer, a firefighter for the City of Stow, Ohio, alleged the City violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by firing him after he completely lost vision in one eye in a non-work related accident. In Rorrer v. City of Stow, a Federal Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s grant of Summary Judgment to the City, allowing Rorrer’s ADA claims against the City to proceed.

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Now it’s the City’s “Problem”: Federal Court Finds New Mexico Corrections Officer Can Proceed with Claim that City Failed to Provide a Reasonable Accommodation for Her Depression, Insomnia, and Migraine Headaches

By Emily Nelson

Not my problemRuby Maes, a former corrections officer at the City of Española Detention Facility, sued the City and the Detention Facility’s Director for disability discrimination, alleging that it refused to provide a reasonable accommodation for her disability, responding to her request telling her that her health issues were “your problem.”  The City filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that Maes’s medical conditions (depression, severe insomnia, and migraines) did not qualify as a “disability” because the inability to sleep does not “substantially limit a major life activity,” under the ADA.  The federal district court of New Mexico disagreed with the City, finding, among other things, that such conditions do qualify as a disability, and allowed Maes to proceed with her discrimination claims. [Read more...]

Pennsylvania District Court Finds Chief’s Badmouthing and Sharing of Officer’s Personal Medical Information Does Not Qualify As Unlawful Retaliation for Officer’s Disability Accommodation Request

By Emily Nelson

Case Dismissed 4Plaintiff Leif Henry, a police officer for the City of Allentown, Pennsylvania, filed suit against the City alleging, among other things, disability discrimination and retaliation under the Rehabilitation Act after a superior officer complained about Henry’s request for a medical accommodation, and Henry was then subjected to an internal affairs investigation. The district court dismissed both claims in Henry v. City of Allentown, finding that Henry had not shown that he suffered an “adverse employment action” by his superior officer, Chief Roger MacLean.

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New Jersey Dispatch Center Manager with Leukemia Who Claims Retaliation after Seeking Accommodation from “Moldy Room” Presents Viable Discrimination and FMLA Claims

Retaliation 2In Moore v. County of Camden, 20 WH Cases 2d 1369 (D.N.J. 2013), a New Jersey federal district ruled declined to dismiss and set for trial a Dispatch Managers Claim that he was retaliated against after he presented his health issues.

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Ninth Circuit Holds that Crimes Committed as Soldier are Not Protected “Performance of Service” Under the USERRA

By Mitchel Wilson

Gavel'In an unpublished decision Nazario v. City of Riverside, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s decision to dismiss a discharged Riverside PD officer’s Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”) claims, denying him a trial, because he could not show he was fired and not rehired because of his military service.

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DC Court of Appeals Holds Failure to Award Park Officer Paid-Leave for Jobs Well Done, is Not Retaliation

By Mitchel Wilson

Good JobIn Bridgeforth v. Jewell, the court granted the United States Park Service, summary judgment because police officer Wayne Bridgeforth’s claims of retaliation were too speculative for trial. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals found insufficient evidence linking the denial of Bridgeforth’s time off award with his “protected activity” of having filed a discrimination claim.

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Capitol Police Officer’s FMLA Interference and Retaliation Claims Dismissed

By David Worley

EvidenceA District of Columbia federal court dismissed a Capitol Police Officer’s FMLA interference and retaliation claims in Gordon v. U.S. Capitol Police, 20 WH Cases2d 453 (D.D.C. 2013), when she could provide no evidence that her employer denied her FMLA benefits (interference) and no evidence that she experienced and adverse employment action because of her use of her FMLA rights (retaliation).  Despite an angry supervisor’s response to her request, the court found insufficient evidence of an “adverse action.”

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Sleeping Corrections Officer Wrongfully discharged with Sleepiness was Caused Diabetes and Denial of Meal Breaks

By David Worley

Break ClockIn Lee v. District of Columbia, 27 AD Cases 895 (D.D.C. 2013),  a District of Columbia Federal District Court found that a diabetic corrections worker had valid claim under the ADA when he was fired for falling asleep on the job, but had been denied a regular meal break and therefore could not manage the symptoms of the disease.  These symptoms included dizziness, fainting or sudden fatigue resulting in falling asleep.  The court found that because an employer accommodation was necessary for Lee to be able to perform the essential functions of the job, he was in fact disabled in the meaning of the ADA.  [Read more...]

Federal Court Rejects Disability Discrimination Claim of Correction Officer recovering from Cancer

By David Worlyey

SickIn Moore v. Maryland Dep’t of Public Safety & Correctional Services, 27 AD Cases 849 (D. Md. 2013), a Maryland Federal District Court found no claim could be made under the ADA when Arlene Moore, a corrections officer recovering from breast cancer, was terminated following an extended period of sick leave and there was no indication that she would be able to return to work.  The Officer had 8 months of leave and her doctor indicated that she either “would” or “might” be able to return after an additional 7 months of leave. The court concluded that this prolonged leave especially in the absence of a certain return date was not a reasonable accommodation.

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Detective’s Retaliation Claims under ADA and FMLA Fail despite Co-Worker Harassment

David Worley

DominanceIn Benavides v. Oklahoma City, 20 WH Cases 2d 331 (10th Cir. 2013), the Court upheld summary judgment on ADA and FMLA claims by a former detective when there was no retaliatory action, the employer suitably responded to alleged harassment, the paid administrative leave was standard for an employee being investigated for a crime, the paid leave did not adversely affect the plaintiff, and there was no showing that the City’s reason was pretextual.  The court had little trouble in affirming the lower court’s granting of summary judgment as the plaintiff had utterly failed in indicating any violation of either the ADA or FMLA had occurred. 

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