Today another former public safety worker, former Correctional Officer Alfred Allen Jr. filed suit against Baltimore County under the ADA for illegally being removed from his correctional officer position. Months after returning successfully from approved medical leave to full duty, the County forced Mr. Allen out of his position into a civilian administrative job, despite his record of ten years of good service and the unequivocal medical opinion of his treating specialist that he could do his job. Mr. Allen sues to return to his Correctional Officer position and to recover damages.
This is at least the 17th employee to bring ADA claims against the County since 2007, resulting in payment in excess of $2.5 million dollars in damages and litigation expenses thus far. In 2007, the U.S. Department of Justice launched an investigation into the County’s illegal employment practices, concluding in August 2012 with the County submitting to a three-year Consent Decree, and paying more than $500,000.00 in damages and attorney’s fees to ten employees. The County remains under oversight by the U.S. Department of Justice under the Consent Decree.
In 2010, highly decorated Baltimore County police detective, William Blake, prevailed on his ADA claims before a federal jury, which awarded him $225,000.00. In November 2012, the County was ordered to repay over $500,000.00 in litigation expenses it forced Detective Blake to incur in his six-year fight to stop the discriminatory treatment.
In May 2013, three more Baltimore County Emergency First Responders achieved settlements under the Americans with Disabilities Act resulting in the County paying in excess of $1,000,000.00 in back-pay, benefits, past and future retirement benefits, damages, costs and attorney’s fees, with two also earning the right to return to their firefighter jobs.
In August 2013, William Galanti, a career laborer in the Department of Public Works, who was forced out in 2011 after falling on the job and fracturing his hip, despite an excellent recovery well within the period of sick leave available to him, achieved a settlement of damages and attorney’s fees totaling approximately $143,000.00. Mr. Galanti, now 72, also was reinstated to work.
In addition, dozens more Baltimore County employees and applicants have prevailed this year before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on similar claims for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. That group includes a police officer, firefighters, correctional officers, laborers, Community College public safety officers, school bus drivers, a school custodian, and a librarian.
Kathleen Cahill, who represents these seventeen claimants and a number of those who have prevailed at the EEOC, explains: “Rather than honor their service and sacrifice and let them get to work, the County turns on those with medical conditions or illness or injuries or disabilities, when the record is clear that they can perform the job. That is simply unacceptable and illegal. We will fight until it is stopped.”
About Kathleen Cahill Law:
Kathleen Cahill of the Law Offices of Kathleen Cahill LLC in Baltimore, Maryland, has been practicing employment and civil rights law for 30 years. For the last eight consecutive years, Ms. Cahill has been named to Super Lawyers, and in 2012, U.S. News and Best Lawyers names Ms. Cahill their Lawyer of the Year in the category of representing individuals in employment law matters.