SAINT LOUIS CITY JURY AWARDS $7 MILLION IN RETALIATION AND DISCRIMINATION SUIT AGAINST MISSOURI DIVISION OF LABOR & INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

Three years after former Worker’s Compensation Administrative Judge Matthew Vacca filed suit against the Missouri Division of Labor and Industrial Relations, as well as its director and a fellow administrative law judge, alleging that he suffered discrimination and retaliation on the basis of his disability in violation of the Missouri Human Rights Act, a jury awarded him $4 million in actual damages, and $3 million in punitive damages. The punitive damage award included a $500,000 award against the director, sued in his individual capacity as acting outside the scope of his authority.

Specifically, Vacca alleged that when the individual defendants came to power, they interfered with his then existing reasonable accommodation and later terminated him in retaliation for making reasonable accommodation requests such as closer parking, a bathroom that met ADA standards, and a modified work schedule.

The Division of Labor denied that it, or the named individuals, discriminated against Vacca, or that the defendants retaliated against him, submitting that Vacca was discharged because he received long-term disability benefits, but that his disability itself was not a contributing factor.

The St. Louis employment attorneys at McMahon Berger have been representing employers across the country in labor and employment matters for sixty years, and are available to discuss these issues and others.  As always, the foregoing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice regarding any particular situation as every situation must be evaluated on its own facts. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.

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