On September 29, 2010, the Honorable David L. Mining, Judge of the Los Angeles County Superior Court entered Judgment (Case No. BC417507) in the amount of $353,171.60 in favor of Plaintiff Mark A. Crawford (“Crawford”) and against Defendant DIRECTV, Inc. (“DIRECTV”) in accordance with the Arbitration award dated June 25, 2010 executed by Arbitrator Sherman W. Smith Jr. (Ret.). Attorney Vincent Calderone of the Bononi Law Group, LLP represented Crawford and Dianne Baquet Smith and Lauren D. Thibodeaux of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, LLP represented DIRECTV.
Crawford, a combat Veteran of the Gulf War, requested a job transfer from his position of a Broadcast Operator as a reasonable accommodation because his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms were worsening as a result of having to view unedited combat footage as part of his regular work duties. DIRECTV placed Crawford on an involuntary medical leave, required him to undergo a fitness for duty examination, and terminated his employment without speaking to him about possible accommodations. Crawford testified at trial that while working for DIRECTV he had either worked or knew of other jobs that did not require him to view unedited broadcast of violent images including positions of Scheduling Operations Coordinator, Broadcast Technician, Broadcast Operator of Sports and Special Events, Program Tech Technician, IT Broadcast Technician, On Air Assistant, and RF Broadcast Technician. Crawford testified that based on his experience from his military service, his employment with other companies and his experience with DIRECTV he would have qualified for either of these positions during the time he was seeking an accommodation. The Arbitrator found that DIRECTV violated the Fair Employment and Housing Act by failing to engage in the interactive process to determine reasonable accommodations for Crawford’s disability and awarded him damages.