The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against qualified persons with disabilities who can perform the essential functions of a job with or without a reasonable accommodation. See www.eeoc.gov/types/ada.html.
Plaintiff Representation. The Law Offices of Dawn V. Martin represents persons with disabilities, as well as people who risk their jobs to stand up for the rights of people with disabilities. The firm has successfully settled cases on behalf of persons with disabilities.
The firm represented Linda Magwood, in Magwood v. First Transit, Inc., in the U.S. District Court for the District of Virginia, Alexandria Virginia. Ms. Magwood was a bus operator for First Transit for three years, with commendations and recognition by the company for her performance. When she developed symptoms of hyperthyroidism and sleep apnea, she wanted time off for treatment. When she requested Family and Medical Leave Act leave to address these disabilities, she was fired. After extremely contentious litigation, just before scheduled trial and immediately after motions for summary judgment were argued, in October of 2009, the judge ordered the parties to mediate to settle the case. After hearing our arguments for summary judgment in favor of Ms. Magwood, the judge stated, in open court, that the way First Transit fired Ms. Magwood was "atrocious, to say the least." See Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and Reply. The judge ordered the parties to mediate, with a Magistrate. The case was settled within days thereafter.
The firm is currently litigating a wrongful discharge case on behalf of a former employee of the Arc of the District of Columbia who attempted to improve the conditions for persons with mental disabilities with respect to training and placement in employment, funded by the federal and District of Columbia governments, Lowry Martin v. The Arc of the District of Columbia, No. 05-01411 (D.D.C.). The Arc has filed a Motion to Dismiss the case, which is currently pending before D.C. Superior Court. See Plaintiff's Opposition to Motion to Dismiss.
Employer Consultant Services. The firm also specializes in consultant services to employers who have responsibly refused to place persons with disabilities in certain positions that they cannot safely perform.
A person with a disability is not guaranteed a particular job, but must demonstrate, like anyone else, whether he or she can perform the essential functions of the job, irrespective of the disability, with or without a reasonable accommodation.
One of the most difficult and challenging issues for both employers and persons with disabilities is determining whether a person with a particular disability can be accommodated in a particular job. Reasonable accommodation determinations are made on a case by case basis and are therefore often speculative.
Where matters of public safety are concerned, the employer is granted considerable authority to use physical criteria to determine job qualifications and to disqualify persons on the basis of disabilities that pose a threat to the safety of the potential employee or others. These issues are particularly important for police and fire departments, with respect to physical standards for hiring, limited duty and other temporary assignments, as well as retirement standards based on disability.
As a consultant, Ms. Martin has advised two municipalities on the problems of complying with the ADA and protecting the public. Earlier in her career, Ms. Martin also developed a policy on pregnancy with respect to police officers, since pregnancy, though protected under Title VII as prohibited sex discrimination, is a temporary disability and poses problems similar to those posed under the ADA, though only on a short-term basis. Ms. Martin has drafted policy and procedure and assisted with litigation for police departments, including the Prince George's County Police Department in Maryland.
Ms. Martin has also conducted extensive research on this issue, and developed recommended policies and procedures for police and fire departments in her article, "911: How Will Police and Fire Departments Respond to Public Safety Needs and The Americans with Disabilities Act?" 2 N.Y.U. J. Leg. & Pol’y 37 (1998-1999). The article dedicated the article to the memory of Ms. Martin's father, a former New York City police officer and firefighter, who retired due to a disability.
Law Offices of Dawn V. Martin, LLC Disability Discrimination