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Disability discrimination claim could lead to litigation

It is well-known that when a member of the military is deployed, he or she often does not return home in the same condition. Those in California who choose to serve in the military often suffer both physically and mentally -- effects that are often felt for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, one man in another state claims that he suffered even more because of his post-traumatic stress disorder when he became the victim of workplace discrimination. His claims could lead to litigation.

The man claims that he was mistreated and harassed by the director of his division. He alleges that her actions created a hostile work environment that he describes as intolerable. The government employee claims that the director told other people about his PTSD, allegedly warning others that he may have a tendency toward violence. Specifically, the man claims she told others that she would not be surprised if he "shot up some place." She also insinuated that he did not really suffer from PTSD but was instead using it as an excuse to miss work.

The suit further claims that his employer's grievance process was ineffective. He says that when he discussed his concerns with a representative from the human resource department, he was informed that the department was aware of the issues with the specific employee but had been advised by the county administrator that any complaints should not see "the light of day."  The county that employs the man now claims that that conversation never happened.

The county further states that his allegations of harassment have been fully investigated and are unfounded. While it admits that the director's comments were "abrasive," the county argues that they were not unlawful. It also argues that a perceived demotion was not retaliation but instead a result of a departmental reorganization.

Failure to follow through on employee complaints could ultimately have a detrimental impact for local government. For example, an employee may be too intimidated to report suspected illegal behavior. For victims of discrimination in California, there are options, including pursuing litigation in civil court. Taking such action may be the only way to ensure lawful treatment of all employees.

Source: heraldmailmedia.com, "Employee claims disability discrimination against Washington County in federal probe", C.J. Lovelace, June 17, 2017

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