Disabled San Diego Employee Awarded $500,000

A disabled city of San Diego employee who was fired because he was unable to climb ladders has been awarded over $520,000 by a jury. David Flores, 61, a mechanical inspector, was injured in a 2006 car crash while on the job.

“It’s an incredibly significant case because the city has been following the wrong laws for years with regard to disabled employees who suffer their injuries on the job,” said Laura Farris, one of the attorneys who represented the plaintiff.

Flores was a mechanical inspector earning about $67,000 annually when he injured his spine when involved in a car crash while working in 2006, his attorney said.

After months off, he returned to his job and continued to work in an “exemplary manner” until he was fired nearly four years later.

Farris said the city fired Flores in 2010 because of a restriction in a 2009 workers’ compensation report that said he could not climb ladders, a restriction the city said it could not accommodate. San Diego Union Tribune, 24 May 2012.

Farris argued that the city was required to “follow state and federal laws requiring reasonable accommodations for disabled employees who can perform their duties and want to continue to work.”