This is the story of our client, an executive at a California tech company. For years, he worked hard to exceed the expectations set out for him by the highest levels of management. And, for years, he did this in spite of his disabling condition.
His employers knew about the disability from the time our client was hired, so it should not have come as a surprise when he sought a few reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. After this request, however, his bosses began to treat him differently despite continuing a high level of achievement in his work.
Our client, in this confidential settlement, suffers from Type II Diabetes and sought reasonable workplace accommodations to ease certain symptoms of his condition. Chief among these symptoms is an inability to stay seated for hours on end. To increase circulation in his lower body, our client needs the ability to assume a fully reclined position every couple of hours. This may seem like a luxury to the average office worker, but luxury quickly turns to necessity when one's foot is at risk of amputation.
Our client came to us in the aftermath of a business trip to Asia. Due to the long flight time, as a concession to his disability, our client required a business class seat for the flight. Without the seat, our client risked circulatory damage to his legs and feet.
His general manager denied this reasonable request, despite his awareness of our client's disability and the length of the flight. Our client was then made to pay for the seat out of his own pocket, without the expectation of reimbursement. When he returned to work after the business trip, he was threatened by management with a reduction in job responsibilities.
He found himself, all of a sudden, second guessed by bosses who once recognized his competence with sizable commissions and performance based bonuses. Now his managers were threatening to take away those duties which earned him the most. And, within several months of his return, management began to discuss our client's termination. Due chiefly to the effects of his disability, they began to doubt his capacity to perform at a level commensurate with past successes.
In a few short months, our client went from high performing executive to facing the chopping block. When the bosses wanted our client to sign a severance agreement, that's when he decided it was time to lawyer up. Our client suspected that this termination agreement might be in violation of his rights. We were able to discover that not only would the agreement leave him short of his severance pay, but we also uncovered the facts of his employer's misconduct.
We were able to build a solid case, based on the evidence presented to us, of the former employer's retaliation and wrongful termination. And although the case never went to trial, our client is happy to reach a settlement to recover his lost income and cover his expenses.