LAPD officer wins $1 million in disability discrimination lawsuit

Just because an employee has a disability does not mean they must stop working. Under the law, employees with disabilities have a right to keep their jobs and seek damages against employers who discriminate against them.

In a recent case, a jury awarded a Los Angeles Police Department officer more than $1 million in a disability discrimination case. Officer Malcolm Thomas sued the LAPD for discriminating against him because of the injuries he sustained on the job. The verdict came 10 years after Thomas originally filed the complaint in 2009, following several mistrials and an appeal.

Thomas alleged the LAPD slashed his pay and took away his police officer privileges after he suffered knee and lower back injuries in a training exercise in 2008. He was initially placed on work restrictions under his doctor’s recommendations. However, Thomas claimed his sergeant pressured him to participate in activities in violation of the restrictions, causing his condition to worsen.

A few months later, Thomas filed a written complaint about the stressful work environment with his commanding officer. He claimed coworkers made fun of his injuries and his inability to be a “team player.” He then spoke to the LAPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau about his claims. Within two days, the same commanding officer told him to hand in his badge and gun.

Thomas was subsequently removed from the training academy and subjected to a pay cut. The city maintained that the disciplinary actions against Thomas were justified and that the LAPD had not engaged in disability discrimination. However, the jury ultimately ruled in Thomas’s favor.

If you have suffered disability discrimination in the workplace, contact the employment attorneys at McCormack & Erlich to learn how we can help.

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