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$1.25 Million For LA County’s Failure To Accommodate A Disability

Myrone Bollinger was a bailiff in the Los Angeles criminal court, employed by the LA County Sheriff’s office. She suffered from a physical disability that made it difficult for her to go on patrol as required by her position.

She requested a reasonable accommodation for her disability, but the County refused to accommodate her. As a result, she was forced to go on patrol and injured herself further, to the point of becoming totally disabled, while on the job.

Bollinger suffered from herniated discs in her back, damage to nerve endings and a torn Achilles tendon when she originally asked for a reasonable accommodation. She was limited by her doctor in work that she was allowed to perform and was specifically restricted from doing any heavy work.

There was no interactive process between Bollinger and the County in denying her request for reasonable accommodation for her disability, in violation of California (the Fair Employment and Housing Act – FEHA) and United States disability laws (the Americans With Disabilities Act – ADA). The interactive process requirement means that an employer and employee requesting a reasonable accommodation should discuss what type of accommodation is necessary to effectively allow that person to continue working with his or her disability.

Had she been given the needed accommodation, she would not be totally disabled now and unable to work, according to her attorney.

Bollinger filed a disability discrimination claim with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing three years ago. The $1.25 million settlement agreement ends her case against LA County.

Source: NBC Los Angeles, “$1.25M Settlement Reached in Disability Discrimination Lawsuit Against LA County,” Caroline Tan, July 17, 2012

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