A disability discrimination lawsuit against Los Angeles County reached a $1.25 million settlement today, over three years after the suit was first filed in June 2009.
Myone Bollinger, a criminal court bailiff with the Sheriff's Department who had a physical disability, sued the county after she became "totally disabled" when asked to perform duties allegedly outside of her physical capacity.
In an 18-page complaint, Bollinger said she had exercised her right to a "reasonable accommodation of her physical disability" -- which included herniated discs in her lower back, nerve damage and a torn Achilles tendon -- when she asked to be temporarily excused from patrol duties.
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Her work restrictions, she said, including avoiding heavy work such as patrol duties.
Still, Bollinger said, her request was refused and she was placed on patrol duty in 2007 against her doctor's orders. The move led her to become "totally disabled" after she was injured while completing patrol duties in January 2008, she said in the complaint.
In addition, Bollinger said, the decision was made without "interactive process," an informal dialogue between employer and employee that sets specific limitations resulting from a disability.
"Had [the] county complied with its legal obligation to reasonably accommodate [Bollinger], [she] would not have become totally disabled," the lawsuit stated. "She would have been to continue to work and would be working currently."
Bollinger filed a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, a civil rights agency that investigates alleged discrimination in employment and housing issues.
The case marks almost three years of litigation between the two parties.
Joyce Aiello, an assistant county counsel for Los Angeles, said it is not uncommon for cases to take multiple years to "wind their way through the legal system."
Attorneys from the Homampour Law Firm, which represented Bollinger, did not return requests for comment Tuesday.