By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun
6:00 AM EDT, October 16, 2013
Another Baltimore County employee has filed a federal lawsuit claiming he was illegally forced out of his job for medical reasons.
Alfred Allen Jr. claims the county demoted him from his job as a correctional officer because of a condition called sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease that affects the organs, even though he was capable of his duties. Allen had started in the job in 2001 and claims he was forced to take a lower-paying administrative position in 2011 after returning from medical leave, according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday.
Allegations in the lawsuit – which seeks $2.3 million in damages — are similar to those filed by other county workers in recent years. Allen's lawyer, Kathleen Cahill, said he is the 17th county worker since 2007 to bring claims against the county based on alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In a statement, county spokeswoman Ellen Kobler said Allen's case and others handled by Cahill "involves the safety of a county employee." She said the county's director of corrections observed Allen "taking 10 minutes to walk 60 feet," leading to concerns about his and his co-workers' safety.
According to the lawsuit, Allen was treated by a specialist and had no problems conducting his duties as a correctional officer. He has had perfect attendance in his administrative job, it says.
The county last year agreed to pay $500,000 to settle a federal Department of Justice lawsuit alleging it had a pattern of discrimination, mostly on based on medical conditions.
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