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DEFENDANT’S Employer’s Liability – Civil rights violation – Failure to accommodate plaintiff in violation of the Rehabilitation Act – Defendant denies diabetic plaintiff’s request to wear sneakers to work to reduce blisters – Wrongful termination.

U.S.D.C. - District of Florida

The plaintiff in this civil rights violation action alleged that the defendant, his former employer, failed to accommodate the plaintiff’s medical requests in violation of the Rehabilitation Act. The defendant argued that plaintiff had exhausted his administrative remedies and he was lawfully terminated.

The plaintiff was employed by the defendant as a parks and recreation maintenance worker from February 11, ________, through July 30, ________. He performed his job in an exemplary fashion. The plaintiff suffers from diabetes which makes him subject to significant complications from even the smallest injuries. In January of ________, the plaintiff developed blisters on his feet from the work boots that plaintiff was required to wear as a condition of his employment with the defendant. He asked his boss if he could wear sneakers instead of the work books in order to alleviate the discomfort from the blisters. His request was denied.

In early March of ________, the plaintiff presented his supervisor with a note from his doctor requesting that the plaintiff be allowed to wear sneakers to work. Again the plaintiff’s request was denied. As a result of the defendant’s failure to accommodate the plaintiff, the plaintiff developed an ulcerative condition on his feet requiring surgery. The plaintiff was out on FMLA until May 26, ________. The plaintiff developed a post-operative infection which required more time off. The plaintiff requested an extension of FMLA which the defendants denied resulting in the plaintiff’s termination from employment.

The plaintiff maintained that the defendants discriminated against the plaintiff on the basis of disability and failed to accommodate the plaintiff in violation of the Rehabilitation Act. The defendant denied that it failed to reasonably accommodate the plaintiff and alleged that the accommodation requested by the plaintiff, not being required to wear “work boots,” would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of the plaintiff. Additionally, the defendant maintained that the plaintiff exhausted his time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act.The jury found that the defendant did not violate the plaintiff’s civil rights.

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