State Police Academy Made Reasonable Effort to Accommodate Recruit with Diabetes

By: Cynthia McNabb and Clive Pontusson

In Reeder v. Carter, a recruit with the Indiana State Patrol brought suit alleging that he had been discriminated against on account of his disability. Dillon Reeder had begun the ISP Recruit Academy and performed well, but was diagnosed with Diabetes and had to be hospitalized. During his treatment, the State Patrol made efforts to accommodate his condition, including special meals and reduced physical activity. However, the Patrol believed that Reeder could not complete the training program.  Further, Reeder did not complete all of the coursework as part of the training program while he was in the hospital and when he was released from the hospital but not allowed to perform full-duty physical activities. As a result, Reeder was dismissed from the Academy. He was given the option of attending the Academy the following year, and also given the option of accepting a civilian job with the Patrol as a dispatcher. Reeder refused both offers. He filed a lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act, claiming that the State Patrol had not done enough to accommodate his condition. The court disagreed, and found that the Patrol had done everything required by the law to attempt to accommodate Reeder’s disability.

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No Failure to Accommodate where Employer is Unaware of Disability

By: Cynthia McNabb and Clive Pontusson

In a case that was decided on summary judgment, the federal court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled that the City of Chicago did not fail to accommodate or discriminate against Plaintiff, a fire paramedic in violation of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA).  Specifically, the Court ruled that the Plaintiff, a fire paramedic with chronic Bell’s palsy employed by the City of Chicago, had failed to show that discrimination was the cause of her being sent to three fit-for-duty evaluations and being placed on involuntary leave.

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Court Remedy for missed deadline: Equitable Estoppel

By: Cynthia McNabb and Clive Pontusson

A former employee of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department was permitted to move his Americans with Disability Act “failure to accommodate” case forward when he had failed to file his claim on time.  [Read more…]

Officer’s Use of Medication Does Not Prove He Is Disabled

By: Cynthia McNabb and Clive Pontusson

In Jeannot v. Philadelphia Housing Authority, a federal court in Pennsylvania dismissed the lawsuit of a Police Officer who sued his employer under the Americans with Disabilities Act for retaliating against him because he had a disability. The Court dismissed Jeannot’s lawsuit because he did not prove that he had a disability that would qualify for protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Jeffrey Jeannot had been a Police Officer with the Philadelphia Housing Authority for several years. While on patrol with another Officer, Jeannot stopped into a pharmacy to fill a prescription for Adderall. Jeannot was prescribed Adderall by his doctor “so that he could maintain focus necessary for him to perform his duties as a police officer.” Jeannot had previously informed his supervisor that he took Adderall, however had not articulated to his supervisor that such use was for a specific medical condition.  Jeannot had also not requested any form of accommodation under the ADA Later, Jeannot’s superiors apparently became suspicious, and required him to submit to a drug test. Jeannot was then suspended from his job for drug use. He filed a lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act. He argued that his concentration issues were a condition that qualified as a disability, that he was nevertheless qualified to be a police officer, and that his employer suspended him because he was disabled. [Read more…]

Florida Sheriff’s Department May Have Had “Mixed Motive” in Demoting Female Officer

By:  Loyd Willaford and Clive Pontusson

In Montoya v. Morgan, a female employee of a Florida Sheriff’s Department filed a lawsuit for gender discrimination in violation of federal law. Laura Montoya argued that widespread sexism in the Sheriff’s department created a hostile work environment and that she was wrongfully discharged because of gender bias in the Sheriff’s Department. The Court ruled that she had not proven that she suffered from a hostile work environment. However, based on the facts presented, the Court determined that gender discrimination could have been a part of her employer’s decision to fire her. As a result, that component of her lawsuit was allowed to continue.

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Illinois Police Officer Whose ADA and FMLA Leave Was Misclassified Was Not Retaliated Against

By: Loyd Willaford and Sarah Burke

In Freelain v. Village of Oak Park, an Illinois police officer who requested leave to take care of his sick wife, and after he developed migraine headaches, sued his department for retaliation under the ADA and FMLA. The department argued that the actions the officer was complaining about were administrative errors that it had corrected. A United States District Court in Illinois agreed with the department and dismissed the officer’s claims.

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Philadelphia’s Required Psychological Exam for Police Officer Applicants Ruled Valid and Non-Discriminatory

By: Loyd Willaford and Mathias Deeg

In Cook v. City of Philadelphia, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that Philadelphia’s required psychological exam for police officer applicants was valid and non-discriminatory, and that a failed exam with no further evidence could not be used as the basis for an employment discrimination claim under the Rehabilitation Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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Michigan Police Department Declines to Rehire Former Deputy Fired While Negotiating a Return to Work

By: Loyd Willaford and Sarah Burke

In Williams v. Office of Chief Judge of Cook Cnty., a former African American juvenile probation officer in Illinois, sued her department for racial discrimination and workers compensation retaliation after she was terminated while on medical leave. The department argued that the decision was based on its belief that the officer had abandoned her job. The Seventh Circuit upheld the lower court’s decision, and granted the department summary judgment on both claims.

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Florida Police Officer Was Not Discriminated Against After Being Fired For Lack of Qualifications

By: Loyd Willaford and Sarah Burke

In Valdes v. City of Doral, a former police officer alleged he had been unlawfully terminated after his job restrictions prohibited him from patrolling the streets. The city argued that it was necessary for an officer to be able to patrol the streets and therefore the officer was no longer qualified for his job. The Eleventh Circuit upheld the lower court’s ruling and dismissed the officer’s claims.

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Disabled Deputy Sheriff in Virginia Was Not Discriminated Against By Losing Out on Open Job Position to More Qualified Individual

By: Loyd Willaford and Sarah Burke

In United States v. Woody, a former deputy sheriff was unable to perform her job after being diagnosed with a heart condition and asked for a transfer to a different position. A position opened but the deputy sheriff was not the most qualified applicant and did not receive the job. The deputy sheriff sued and alleged that she had been discriminated against because of her disability. A United States District Court in Virginia disagreed and dismissed the sheriff’s lawsuit.

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