Lance Lazoff, an officer with the Colorado Springs Police Department, will be promoted to sergeant with back pay and benefits to settle his retaliation lawsuit against the city.
Lazoff alleged that, despite an exemplary service record, he was denied promotion to the rank of sergeant because of his vocal support for his wife’s claim under the ADA.
A 17-year veteran of the department, Lazoff was routinely designated acting sergeant in the Technical Enforcement Unit. Yet he was passed over for promotion for sergeant 16 times in the two years leading up to his complaint.
“Employees who exercise their civil rights to oppose discrimination against others are entitled to protection,” said Grace Chung Becker, acting assistant attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, which handled Lazoff’s complaint.
Final note: Remember, it isn’t just the disabled who are protected from discrimination and retaliation based on disability. The EEOC and many courts have taken the position that anyone who advocates on behalf of the disabled may also be protected.
The reasoning goes like this: If employers can retaliate against employees who object to the way their employers treat disabled employees or applicants, then disabled employees might be dissuaded from complaining, too. That’s particularly the case when both the disabled employee and a relative work for the same employer.
- Employee won't even try ADA accommodation? That ends your obligation
- Employees must use own vehicles for work? You could be liable
- When terminating a veteran, can we ask her to sign a waiver of employment claims?
- If disability affects performance, demotion may be in order
- Testifying for subordinate may be protected activity