Federal Jury Awards $230,000 To Garbage Collector After Wrongful
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 29, 2003
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA--A City of Sacramento garbage collector who was fired because of his disability was awarded $230,000 last week by a federal jury.
The six-member jury found that the city violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and California's Fair Employment and Housing Act when it fired Michael Asberry in September 1999.
According to the Sacramento Bee, Asberry was hired by the city's Solid Waste Division in 1992 to operate a side-loader garbage truck. After some time on the job, he developed back problems that limited his ability to lift more than 40 pounds. This alone did not mean that he could no longer run the truck, however.
But when a doctor expanded the restrictions to include no bending, stooping, or sitting for long periods, his employers decided that Asberry was not qualified for any jobs with the division. The expanded restrictions were accidentally included in a July 1999 medical report, which the city inappropriately used to argue Asberry could not perform the essential functions of his job, according to Asberry's attorney.
Asberry was laid off two months after the report.
He provided documentation of the mistake and a release from his physician clearing him to be able to work. He was finally rehired to his former job on March 22, 2000.