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Justice Department files suit against Richmond City Sheriff’s Office for disability discrimination

Posted at 5:31 PM, Mar 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-02 17:31:36-05

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The U.S Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and the Justice Department filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Richmond City Sheriff’s Office for disability discrimination.

The lawsuit alleges that the City Sheriff’s Office fired a former deputy sheriff, who was unable to continue as a deputy due to a health ailment, instead of reassigning her to a vacant position for which she was qualified.

The suits argues, this was a violation of Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The employee, who had worked as a deputy for approximately 10 years, asked to be reassigned to an available civilian position after a heart condition rendered her unable to continue as a deputy.

Title I of the ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals on the basis of disability in various aspects of employment. These prohibitions include failing to provide reasonable accommodations, including reassignment, where such an accommodation does not pose an undue hardship to the employer.

“Employment is a vital part of life for all individuals and the ADA ensures that qualified individuals who develop disabilities are able to stay employed,” said Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

“The ADA guarantees people with disabilities the right to earn a living and advance their careers free from workplace discrimination,” said Vanita Gupta, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “The Justice Department will continue to vigorously enforce the ADA and ensure that when employees develop disabilities that interfere with their job, employers reassign them to a different vacant position that matches their qualifications.”