Fired employee prevails in disability discrimination claim

If you leave Milwaukee at noon and drove southwest until dinner time or so, you would arrive in East St. Louis. That is where a U.S. District Court recently affirmed a judgment that Madison County must pay more than $650,000 in damages in a disability discrimination case.

The county had asked the court for a new trial or reduced award in a lawsuit filed by a former county comptroller who claimed that she had been fired because of a debilitating illness.

The former county employee filed the suit under the Americans With Disabilities Act against the Treasurer’s office. The former treasurer was elected county board chairman in late 2016.

Last summer, the court ordered the county to pay $450,000 in compensatory damages, as well as $80,089.61 in back pay. The county was also ordered to pay $125,440 to the plaintiff’s employment law attorney and $3,300 in additional costs.

The county had argued that the former comptroller had been an employee of the Treasurer’s office and not Madison County proper. That argument might have resulted in a cap on damages, but the judge rejected the county’s claim.

In 2012, the worker suffered from an illness that made it difficult to care for herself. But after a partial recovery, she returned to work with an attached intravenous drip. She claimed in her suit that the then-Treasurer suggested that she retire and pursue disability benefits.

The woman’s position was later eliminated. The then-Treasurer claimed it was due to a cost-saving measure; she said she was fired because of her illness.

Kudos to her for fighting for justice.

An experienced Milwaukee employment law attorney can help you do the same.


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