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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 116727
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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Im a detention Deputy w/NPC Sheriffs Dept. I now have health

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I'm a detention Deputy w/NPC Sheriffs Dept. I now have health issues after 15 yrs service with the dept.. There is light duty within our jail but I'm being told that I will likely be let go by December if I don't have surgery. I have requested to be put back on reg duty and have been denied as the dept does not want the liability if I'm injured. The county commissioners are talking of firing me. Can they legally do this in Idaho?
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

Do you have a permanent disability as diagnosed by a doctor?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I have been diagnosed as having Osteoporasis and Osteoarthritis which is why my right knee was replaced and now my left knee needs the same surgery.

Thank you for your response and additional information.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, if you have a permanent disability that impairs a major life function, which you do, then the employer must give you a reasonable accommodation if they have one available. Thus, you need to send them a letter with a request for reasonable accommodation under the ADA and attach all of your medical information from your doctor to prove your disability and what accommodation would be required. Then if they deny you an accommodation, your next step is filing a complaint with the state commission on human/civil rights or the EEOC and they will investigate to issue a right to sue letter to allow you to go to court.

Also, if you go out for surgery, you are entitled to 12 weeks of leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act while you are out and if they fire you prior knowing you will be going on such leave, this is retaliation/discrimination under the FMLA which is a claim you can also file with the Department of Labor

This is how to proceed with your situation, since you have multiple potential violations.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

This was what I understood from reading through ADA. But I wasn't sure this also pertained to law enforcement. They've already taken away my senority rights allowed to all other employees in regard to bidding for shifts. And are now talking about lowering my pay since I am unable to work outside of the control room. I even offered to ignore my health and be placed back on regular duty, but have been denied as they claim it to be a liability.

Thank you for your response.

Yes, the ADA does apply to law enforcement, but law enforcement has some leeway regarding the agency's claim that any position they could put you in would pose a security threat to the facility and you would then have to prove that is merely a pretext for discrimination under the ADA and not a bona fide security threat by showing that they have light duty positions that are not a security risk that are available for you to perform.

It does seem they are discriminating against you based on your statements. They still have to prove that your liability and safety risk is a bona fide and legitimate one and you have the option to show that there are light duty positions that are not a liability or safety risk for you to perform.
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