PHILADELPHIA (Legal Newsline) — The city of Philadelphia agreed Feb. 6 to resolve allegations it discriminated against an employee with a disability, the U.S. Department of Justice said.
According to the complaint, city allegedly terminated a sanitation worker with a disability instead of reassigning him to a vacant position that was qualified for.
Following a heart attack, the worker's doctor forbid him from lifting anything weighing over 20 pounds. The restriction prevented the employee from completing sanitation work.
As a result, he sought to be reassigned to numerous vacant city positions. According to the Justice Department, the city failed to consider him for those positions and instead terminated him, allegedly violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
To resolve the complaint, the city offered to reinstate the employee and will pay $90,000 for back pay and compensatory damages.
“Firing an employee because of a disability in these circumstances constitutes discrimination and violates the ADA,” Tom Wheeler,m acting assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said. “Just because an employee’s disability prevents them from working in one position does not disqualify them from working successfully in a different position. We commend the city of Philadelphia for agreeing to revise its policies and offering to reinstate the former employee.”