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LAPD Lieutenant wins $4.4 Million in Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Emanuel Shirazi

Veteran LAPD Lieutenant, Lou Vince, has been awarded $4.37 million by a jury in a disability discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles. Vince claimed a supervisor minimized his back issues and that the department had ignored his accommodation requests for light duty to heal.

Before the incidents that lead to Vince filing against the city, Vince had no problems supervisors and had numerous accolades and promotions throughout his career.

In 2008, Vince suffered back injuries as a patrol officer, and shortly after promoting to lieutenant, he underwent spinal fusion surgery in 2015. Upon his return, Vince had medical work restrictions to allow his back to heal. Instead of accommodating Vince’s medical restrictions, his boss was not happy and insisted Vince have them lifted. Vince complied but was unable to work with his full duty belt because of ongoing back problems. Vince was never given a light-duty position as he requested.

When Vince made a disability discrimination complaint, he was then retaliated against with station transfers and job reassignments.

In April 2018, Vince filed a lawsuit alleging disability discrimination, failure to reasonably accommodate and failure to engage in the interactive process. The City Attorney’s Office argued that the LAPD had non-discriminatory and non-retaliatory reasons behind every action against Vince and denied he was retaliated against for complaining.

It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for making a legally protected complaint to management, HR, or the DFEH / EEOC. Moreover, employers are required to reasonably accommodate employees with a disability or medical condition.

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