He's Not Drunk, He's Alcoholically Disabled


Via the great Overlawyered.com, the gag-inducing story of a former Florida police officer who's suing the force after they fired him for being a drunk. From Tampa's WTSP:

[Former Sgt. Clinton] Knowles was terminated in April 2008, two months after he harassed a pair of women off-duty at the Applebee's in North Port. In written statements, one of the women stated Knowles "smacked her on the butt," while another said he was "grabbing her thighs and arms as well."

Knowles stated that said he didn't remember the incidents and that he had a "propensity to blackout." Also contributing to his termination, the fact that his drinking often rendered him unavailable to perform his duties as a member of the S.W.A.T. team.

The lawsuit states that Knowles was discriminated against because his multiple requests for help from the Employee Assistance Program were either ignored or refused.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1992 states that a person who is an alcoholic is "protected by the ADA if s/he is qualified to perform the essential functions of the job. An employer may be required to provide an accommodation to an alcoholic."

However, the ADA also says that "an employer can discipline, discharge or deny employment to an alcoholic whose use of alcohol adversely affects job performance or conduct."

Whole story here. Brian Doherty on the case against the ADA here.