Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

College football coach Steve Sarkisian recently filed a wrongful termination lawsuit in Los Angeles County Court against the University of Southern California (USC), alleging that the school illegally discriminated against him due to his alcoholism disability. Sarkisian’s conduct was initially criticized in August 2015 for his controversial display of profanity and slurred speech during a football pep rally. In October 2015, the plaintiff refuted allegations that he was intoxicated during a meeting with the football players and attributed his erratic behavior to a prior episode of heavy drinking, compounded by the negative effects of sleep deprivation and the use of anxiety medication.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff was fired shortly after he took a leave of absence to seek treatment for alcoholism. The plaintiff’s attorneys accused the athletic director of failing to corroborate that Sarkisian was under the influence of alcohol at work before promptly dismissing him. Sarkisian’s attorneys contended that the plaintiff acted responsibly by recognizing that he required immediate treatment for his condition, but that USC shirked its responsibility to the plaintiff by violating the terms of his employment contract. Sarkisian held that he should have been permitted to maintain his position as football coach while simultaneously receiving treatment for his alcoholism disability. By successfully filing a lawsuit against USC, the plaintiff hopes to recover $12.6 million, the remainder of his salary for the rest of his employment period as stipulated in the employment contract. In addition to compensatory damages for the breach of his employment contract, the plaintiff seeks damages for mental anguish.

The law firm of O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble has significant experience handling employment law cases that entail violations of the Law Against Discrimination in New Jersey. If your employer has taken adverse action against you by demoting you, reducing your salary, suspending you or wrongfully terminating you in retaliation for having requested medical leave or due to a disability such as alcoholism, you may be able to file an employment law claim on the grounds of disability discrimination. If your employer has discriminated against you due to a medical condition and has failed to provide a reasonable accommodation to modify your job and facilitate your participation in the workplace, you may have recourse to the law to obtain a just settlement.

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