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Former USC Coach Steve Sarkisian is Suing School

Emanuel Shirazi

On Monday Dec. 7, 2015 former head coach of USC football, Steve Sarkisian, filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the school. Sarkisian’s attorney alleges that he was fired the day after he took a leave of absence to seek treatment for alcohol abuse.

The complaint said that USC did not give Sarkisian the “reasonable accommodation” or allow him “time off to get help for his disability.” ESPN reports that Sarkisian was fired via Email by USC’s athletic director Pat Haden as he was headed to the rehabilitation center.

The lawsuit states:
“Under the circumstances of this case, California law required USC to make reasonable accommodation of giving Steve Sarkisian time off to get help for his disability and then return to his job. Instead, USC ignored both its obligations under California law and the commitments it made to Steve Sarkisian.”

In a widely publicized incident, (here), Sarkisian gave a speech at a pep rally where he cursed and slurred his speech. Sarkisian later apologized for the incident and said that he had mixed medication and alcohol.

The lawsuit says that Sarkisian’s contract was violated by USC’s refusal to pay him the remaining amount owed of $12.6 million. Most employees are at-will, but Sarkisian had a contract. Looks like USC is saying that it had good cause to justify terminating the long term contract early.

What do you think of Sarkisian’s claims? Do you think someone whose alcoholism affects their work should still be able to keep their job?

If you believe that you were wrongfully terminated, contact employment lawyer Emanuel Shirazi @ (310) 400-5891.

Photo Attribution: By Bobak Ha’Eri (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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