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City Can Be Liable For ADA Violations Of Third-Party Evaluators

When Christopher Gibbs applied to be a Pittsburgh policeman, he passed the written test and got a conditional job offer. After that, Pennsylvania Law required him to “be personally examined by a licensed psychologist and found to be psychologically capable of exercising appropriate judgment or restraint in performing the duties of a police officer.” When two of the three psychologists who interviewed him opined that he was unfit to…

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Corrections Officer Terminated For Dishonesty, Not Disability

Brad Sandefur was a corrections officer for the Sheriff of Cook County, Illinois. He suffers from disk desiccation in his spine and osteoarthritis in his knees. Both conditions can cause intermittent pain for weeks at a time. In 2011, Sandefur applied for and received a handicapped parking placard from the Illinois Secretary of State. His application identified his qualifying disability as osteoarthritis or a “knee condition.” The application asserted…

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Pre-Existing PTSD Does Not Bar Officer’s Disability Claim

Detective Christopher Sardo worked for the Village of Franklin Park, Illinois. Sardo served in the United States Marine Corps from 1987 to 1991, including a tour of duty in Desert Storm. Besides physical danger, his service exposed him to several traumatic events, including fellow Marines being shot at and killed. After his discharge, Sardo experienced depression, flashbacks, and panic attacks. Sardo became a Franklin Park police officer in January…

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ADA Does Not Require Light Duty For Oft-Injured Officer

Kristal Scott suffered multiple injuries during the time that she was employed as a Detroit police officer. In 2011, she fell down the stairs while on duty responding to a call. On July 13, 2012, during job-required scooter training, she crashed her scooter into a metal barricade at low speed when an insect flew into her helmet and she attempted to avoid hitting a bike. On September 20, 2012,…

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Firefighters, Facial Hair, The ‘Empty Vessel’ Of Light Duty, And The ‘Driving Calculus of Bureaucracy’

Salik Bey and three of his colleagues are African-American men who were employed as firefighters by the Fire Department of the City of New York. They suffer from Pseudofolliculitis Barbae (PFB), a physiological condition that causes disfigurement of the skin in the hair-bearing areas of the chin, cheek, and neck and which affects approximately 45% to 85% of African- American men. PFB is exacerbated by shaving with a razor…

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Different Job Standards Possible For Older And Younger Officers

Carlos Melo served for 19 years as a police officer in Somerville, Massachusetts. In 2002, he suffered an injury that ultimately resulted in a loss of almost all vision in his left eye. Not long after the injury, physicians cleared him to return to duty without restriction. In 2007, after serving several years as a patrol officer without incident, he successfully bid for the position of station officer. He…

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The Standard For A Fitness-For-Duty Evaluation

Bryan Gipson worked for the Tawas Police Authority in Michigan for a few years when he was in a serious car accident. Gipson hurt his back so badly that he was unable to return to work for over six months. When he did return, he needed accommodations. After a few months of work, his doctor wrote notes saying he couldn’t lift over 25 pounds and could only work the…

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Reporting To Work On Time Essential To Firefighter’s Job

Darrell Hartwell worked as a firefighter/EMT for Naval Support Activity (NSA) Panama City for more than 16 years, until he was fired by Chief James Elston. For his entire career at the Department, Hartwell had trouble getting to work on time. The firefighters at NSA Panama City worked alternating 24-hour shifts starting at 7:00 AM. According to Chief Elston, Hartwell was late “almost every shift.” Until 2011, however, Hartwell…

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Indefinite Leave Of Absence Not Required Under ADA

Thomas Monroe worked as a corrections officer with the Florida Department of Corrections. Monroe was diagnosed with PTSD and requested an indefinite leave of absence. Shortly thereafter, the Department terminated his employment. Monroe sued, claiming he was the victim of disability discrimination. The federal 11th Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed and dismissed Monroe’s lawsuit. The Court began by reciting the standard rubric for analysis of ADA claims. As the…

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Personality Traits Not Protected By ADA

Kent Donley was a police officer with the Village of Yorkville in New York. On July 5, 2011, the Village mayor and the board of trustees were presented with a written complaint from a resident regarding an incident with Donley. The complaint alleged that Donley had approached the resident and her daughter in the resident’s fenced-in backyard at approximately 10:30 p.m., and that Donley had shined a flashlight at…

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Officer’s Monocular Vision Not Protected By The ADA

Carlos Melo began working as a police officer for the City of Somerville, Massachusetts in 1997. He injured his left eye while on duty in October 2002. The following year, after multiple surgeries, he returned to work without restrictions. In 2007, he became a station officer, which required him to answer police calls, run criminal history checks, and monitor prisoners. Additionally, he was required to be able to perform…

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Seniority Prevails Over ADA For Day Off Selection

Natasha McIntyre was a sergeant with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. McIntyre worked the day shift, which runs from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., due to her seniority. In February 2016, McIntyre’s drug test revealed the presence of amphetamines. McIntyre had been prescribed the drug Adderall to treat her ADHD. She contacted Metro regarding possible accommodations for her ADHD. As accommodations for McIntyre’s disability, her doctor recommended: “(1)…

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The ADA And Light-Duty Jobs

Repeating a result that has been reached many times in courts across the country, the federal Second Circuit Court of Appeals has illustrated how difficult it is for public safety employees to claim that their employers should accommodate their disabilities by assignment to a light-duty position. The case involved Sergeant Michael Garvey of the Town of Clarkstown, New York. Garvey suffered a knee injury while on duty, was placed…

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Court Finds Brain Injury Is Not Physical Incapacitation

While he was on duty on August 12, 2014, Baltimore Police Officer Carlos Couret-Rios was in a car that was rear-ended. His head snapped forward and back and he briefly lost consciousness. When he regained consciousness and got out of the car, he experienced severe vertigo. A physician diagnosed him with post-concussion syndrome and prescribed vestibular therapy to improve his balance and reduce the problems related to dizziness. While…

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Failure To Follow Through On Alcohol Treatment Legitimate Basis For Discipline

While working as an Omaha Police Department (OPD) officer, Jason Christensen sought leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to get treatment for his alcoholism. He was granted FMLA leave in April 2015, until he exhausted his leave on or about July 18, 2015. Christensen sought voluntary inpatient alcohol treatment at Valley Hope of Omaha, an addiction treatment center, from April 26, 2015, through May 17, 2015….

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Wearing Protective Mask Reasonable Accommodation For Corrections Officer

Monica Berry worked for the Illinois Department of Corrections as a corrections officer at the Logan Correctional Center. In February 2013, the Department granted her leave under the Family Medical Leave Act due to her asthma, which rendered her partially unable to do her job. Her asthma was exacerbated by potential irritants, specifically pepper spray. Although Berry was never exposed to the spray at work, it was used with…

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HIPAA Forms Can Violate Americans With Disabilities Act

John Nawara is a corrections officer with the Cook County Sheriff’s Office in Illinois. From 2002 to 2007, he was on a special team in the Cook County Jail called the Special Operations Response Team (SORT). After members of SORT supported a candidate who challenged Sheriff Tom Dart in the primary election, SORT was disbanded. Twenty-one members of SORT, including Nawara, successfully sued the County and Dart. By late…

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ADA Does Not Give Dispatcher Right To Bring Dog To Work

Stefanie Maubach is a dispatcher for the City of Fairfax, Virginia. Her job includes answering emergency calls, receiving and transmitting radio and telephone messages, and dispatching police and other emergency personnel when needed. Maubach worked the night shift with another dispatcher. In February 2016, Maubach asked her lieutenant if she could bring her dog to work. Maubach told her lieutenant that having her dog, Mr. B, at work would…

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ADA Does Not Require Light Duty Jobs For Police

Michael Garvey is a sergeant for the Town of Clarkstown Police Department in New York. Garvey suffered from serious problems with his left knee, including an on-the-job injury and a pre-existing “gouty” condition. Garvey’s doctor concluded that “light duty” would be an option if available. Eventually, Garvey stated that his knee condition was permanent and that he could not perform the various functions of a police officer. The Police…

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Court Finds Fitness-For-Duty Evaluations Violate The ADA

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is an interstate governmental agency that operates transportation facilities in the New York metropolitan area, including airports, bridges, tunnels, train, bus, and marine terminals, as well as the World Trade Center site. The Authority’s rank-and-file police officers are represented by the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association (PBA). The parties’ collective bargaining agreement, known as a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), allows…

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Taser Exposure Not Essential To Job Of Detective

Jacqueline Lewis, an African-American police detective in Union City, Georgia, was terminated abruptly from her position in 2010, after about ten years of service. In January 2009, Lewis suffered a small heart attack. The episode was unusual in that a cardiac catheterization showed “no clot and no disease” in Lewis’s heart, although heart attacks generally are caused by a “clot inside the coronary arteries.” And while Dr. Arshed Quyyami,…

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Contract Takes Precedence Over ADA Accommodations

Linda Faulkner was a corrections officer with the Douglas County, Nebraska Correctional Center. On August 6, 2012, Faulkner was involved in an inmate altercation. She suffered a left shoulder strain, hand contusion, contusion of the lumbar region, and a lumbar strain. After these conditions resolved, Faulkner discovered that she suffered from cervical spondylosis with radiculopathy. Faulkner’s doctor determined that the condition was not job-related, but was instead the result…

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Police Lieutenant Must Be Able To Work Outside Office

Humberto Valdes was a lieutenant in the City of Doral, Florida Police Department. All lieutenants in the Department worked eight-hour shifts; Valdes was assigned to the afternoon shift. While on duty in March 2009, Valdes was involved in a car crash. After the crash, Valdes developed a panic disorder and began seeing a psychiatrist for treatment. From April through August 2009, the psychiatrist recommended that Valdes work on light…

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Firefighter Loses ADA Claim

Robert Adair was a firefighter with the City of Muskogee, Oklahoma. Adair injured his back during a training exercise. As a result of his injury, Adair completed a functional-capacity evaluation that measured and limited his lifting capabilities. After two years on paid leave, Adair received a workers’ compensation award definitively stating that Adair’s lifting restrictions were permanent. The same month he received his award, Adair retired from the Muskogee…

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ADA Does Not Require Day Shift Assignment For Trooper

Jesse Kirincich was a trooper with the Illinois State Police (ISP). Kirincich has suffered from Type 1 diabetes since she was a child. In August 2011, the Illinois State Police hired Kirincich. It was aware of Kirincich’s diabetes before hiring her. At the time of her hiring, Kirincich’s diabetes appeared to be well controlled. For 13 years, an endocrinologist named Dr. Yohay has treated her, using a program that…

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