City of Melbourne – Handicap Discrimination, Florida Civil Rights Act

City of Melbourne – Handicap Discrimination, Florida Civil Rights Act


Susan Wood,


vs. CASE NO.

City of Melbourne, Florida



Plaintiff, SUSAN WOOD, by and through her undersigned attorney, sues Defendant, City of Melbourne, Florida (hereinafter called Defendant), and alleges as follows:
1. This is an action for damages that exceed $15,000.00, exclusive of costs, interest and attorney’s fees.
2. The unlawful employment practices alleged below were committed within Brevard County, Florida.
3. Defendant, at the time of the acts complained of herein, was an employer in the State of Florida, which employed fifteen (15) or more persons.
4. Plaintiff worked for Defendant as a Custodial Helper, after being hired on or about June 8, 2001.
5. On June 14, 2001, Plaintiff took and passed a physical exam required by the City of Melbourne, Florida. During this physical exam Plaintiff disclosed to the examining physician a back injury she had suffered approximately 40 years prior.
6. During the course of her employment, Plaintiff in talking with a co-worker who claimed to have a back injury mentioned that she herself previously had a back injury.
7. Plaintiff at no time indicated to Defendant that she was in any way impaired by her 40 year old back injury or could not perform the essential functions of her job.
8. Plaintiff at all times while employed by Defendant performed the essential functions of her position as Custodial Helper.
9. Plaintiff’s employment continued uninterrupted until October 26, 2001 when Plaintiff was called in and terminated from her employment apparently based upon the false accusation of the City that Plaintiff failed to disclose she had sustained a back injury forty years earlier.
10. The Defendant, through statements made to Plaintiff and by its action in terminating Plaintiff after it learned of her 40 year old back injury perceived Plaintiff as having a handicap.
11. Defendant has refused to allow Plaintiff to continue her employment with the Defendant because of having perceived her as being handicapped in violation of Chapter 760, Florida Statutes.
12. This action is brought pursuant to Section 760.10, Florida Statutes, the Florida Civil Rights Act.
13. Plaintiff’s Charge Of Discrimination was filed with the Florida Commission on Human Relations, and more than one hundred eighty (180) days have expired since the filing of said complaint with the FCHR. The FCHR has not entered a determination on Plaintiff’s claim.
14. Defendant has failed and refused to reinstate Plaintiff to her position as a Custodial Helper or to other available positions which Plaintiff could also have performed.
15. The Defendant regarded Plaintiff as handicapped under the Florida Civil Rights Act and unable to perform the essential functions of her position, with or without accommodation.
16. In spite of her medical history, Plaintiff was able to perform all of the essential functions of her position, with or without accommodation, as a Custodial Helper, and other available positions with the Defendant.
17. The purpose of Defendant in inquiring into or having a concern with a 40 year old back injury, whether disclosed or not to Defendant, was to permit Defendant to discriminate against handicapped persons.
18. The actions of Defendant, constitute discrimination against Plaintiff, both in her termination and based upon a perceived handicap, and in so discriminating against Plaintiff, the Defendant violated Section 760.10, Florida Statutes, which makes it unlawful ” to discharge or to fail or refuse to hire any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s handicap.”
19. The conduct of Defendant as complained of herein was willful, malicious, oppressive, wanton and in complete disregard of the rights of Plaintiff.
20. Plaintiff has exhausted her administrative remedies prior to bringing this action.
21. Plaintiff has complied with all conditions precedent prior to bringing this action.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for:

A. Judgment for her back pay, including all sums of money Plaintiff would have earned, together with such other increases to which she would be entitled, had she not been discriminated against due to her being perceived as handicapped.
B. Compensatory damages, including, but not limited to, damages for mental anguish, loss of dignity, and any other intangible injuries;
C. An award of reasonable attorney fees and all costs incurred herein;
D. Such other damages and relief as may be just and proper.

Wayne L. Allen, Esquire
Attorney for Plaintiff

Plaintiff demands a jury trial on all issues herein triable by jury.

DATED this _____ day of July, 2002.

Wayne L. Allen, Esquire
Florida Bar No. 110025
Adrienne E. Trent, Esquire
Florida Bar No. 0060119
Attorneys for Plaintiff
700 N. Wickham Road, Suite 107
Melbourne, Florida 32935
Phone: (321) 254-7550
Fax: (321) 242-1681

Attorney: Maurice Arcadier
Status: Closed
Date Filed: 07/12/2002

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