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TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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I was hired on July 1, 2010 as the Director of a Library system.

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I was hired on July 1, 2010 as the Director of a Library system. In December 2011 I was evaluated by my Board of Trustees. One of the points the Board made during the evaluation was the "...much of my written correspondance included mis-spellings and wandering thoughts." I explained to the Board that I had experienced an episode in October of 2010 where I believed that I had experienced a small stroke. ( I was hositalized for one or two days for tests and observation. The results were inconclusive.) I told the Board that following that episode I had some difficulty with spelling and would occassionally leave out letters or even whole words; I thanked them for their patience and said I felt that I was rapidly improving and to please be a little more understanding as I condinued my work. They asked me to provide certification from my physician that I was able to continue in my position. After that the evaluation became somewhat hostile and the process ended in my losing my temper the leaving the room.
(Please note that when I related the "stroke" event to the Human Resources Manager heand that I was going to provide my hospital records to the Board; he advised me not to do that).

In January the Board said that new information about my performance had come to light and they needed to investigate. It was discivered that I accepted an honorarium for participating in a conference. I kept the money. It was later determined that the district had paid for my airfare and I had violated the law by accepting the money. I had no recollection of the airfare situation (this occurred in January 2011 not long after my first "episode.")

On February 21, 2012 I was placed on paid administrative leave. I had no direct contact with the Board following that, just a series of questions that was provided to me by the Board's attorney that I was to answer. And a phone call in which I addressed thte questions. (No mention of my health during any of that process) On March 28, 2012 I was terminated because "...we feel we can no longer trust Michael."

I did hire an attorney but none of this came up during my fight to get my unemploymet benefits....which I was denied because the Board fought me through all appeals.

Although, Washinton is an "At Will" state I feel that the Board violated ADA laws and believe further that they should have taken my condition, which still persists, into consideration and done something other than terminate me. (You can find out a lot about this on Google. Once it went viral it has never disappeared which has made my job search a nightmare.

Sorry for being so verbose. Do I have a leg to stand on here or should I just forget it?

Thank you for your question and I am sorry to hear about your situation.

If a stroke were confirmed by your physicians or some other medical observation that would confirm your loss of cognitive abilities during your employment and continuing onward, I believe that you would have a demonstrable claim for employment discrimination in violation of the ADA. That being said, it sounds as if the evidence is not sound on that note as the medical tests were inconclusive. This would make your claim more difficult.

Further, the fact that you lost your temper during the evaluation and that you had allegedly accepted funds from the honorarium in violation of the law, adds to the argument which would be put forward by your employer that the termination was not due to any disability but based on other permissible factors.

In short, under the circumstances you are describing an ADA claim for employment discrimination would be a hard case.

This answer is provided for information purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Please visit a local employment or civil rights attorney for a complete evaluation of your claim.

Please let me know if there is further information I can provide you.

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