Dearborn Heights, MI asked in Civil Rights, Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for Michigan

Q: Can I get legal aid to recover damages due to disability discrimination and ADA violations by the City of Detroit.

I used to work for the City of Detroit, I had two emergency surgeries in May 2020, one to amputate my left foot and another surgery the next day to amputate my left leg below the knee due to contracting a flesh-eating bacteria that was progressing rapidly and was life threatening.

I was able to return to work on November 30, 2020 with no employment issues.

Almost immediately upon returning I suffered from severe glaucoma that required another emergency surgery on December 03, 2020 that left me blind in my left eye. After I recovered and received a return to work authorization from my Doctor with no restrictions in February 2021,

I spoke to the HR Dept. for the City of Detroit to get a return to work date, I was informed in writing that my new disabilities disqualified me from being able to return to my former position (desk job) or from any position in the City of Detroit.

2 Lawyer Answers
Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: Best thing to do would be to call your local legal aid office and let them tell you whether it's something they would accept.

Generally, legal aid offices do not take "fee generating" cases. Think cases that lawyers would typically take on a contingency fee basis; yours is potentially such a case where a private attorney may be interested.

Eva Zelson
Eva Zelson

A: You may be able to work with an employment law attorney on a contingency basis, meaning that if you win the case or are able to settle, the lawyer's fees come out of the money awarded to you, but if you lose in court, you don’t owe the lawyer any fees. You may have a case that a discrimination lawyer would be interested in accepting because under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), your employer must legally work with you in good faith to determine if it can reasonably accommodate you considering your disabilities. It sounds like your employer did not do this. Contact an experienced employment law attorney to discuss legal options.

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