The city of Denver has agreed to pay a deputy sheriff $100,000 in damages to settle a discrimination complaint brought by the U.S. Department of Justice over a failure to accommodate the officer’s diabetes-related needs.
As part of the settlement agreement, which the Justice Department announced Tuesday, the city “will revise its reasonable accommodation policies and procedures and will conduct training on the ADA for Sheriff Department supervisors, command staff and human resources personnel.” The ADA is the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees.
The deputy began working in the city’s jail in 1998, the complaint says, but was suspended in April 2015 after suffering a diabetic emergency. He had not taken a meal break and was denied a relief officer after experiencing symptoms of low blood sugar.
The Denver Sheriff Department later fired him after rejecting doctor-suggested accommodations, including regular snack breaks and allowing him to test his blood sugar on the job, the complaint says.
But in 2016, the Career Service Board overturned the termination, and the deputy was reinstated in November of that year.
The complaint says he again was denied accommodations for his diabetes, and he suffered another diabetic emergency the following month. A medical evaluation resulted in a finding in June 2017 that he was not qualified to work as a deputy sheriff, based on his medical history.
The complaint and settlement documents do not identify the deputy. The settlement says the city reinstated him in the Denver County jail during the Justice Department’s investigation and has provided back pay and benefits for the time he was out of work.
“The ADA generally requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, including those with chronic conditions like insulin-dependent diabetes,” said John Gore, the acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, in a news release. “We commend the City and County of Denver Sheriff Department for committing to changing its policies, training its staff and compensating the employee.”