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RIVERSIDE, Calif., July 31, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Smith Law Offices, LLP – a trial and litigation law firm specializing in public sector, labor and employment, civil rights, healthcare and business litigation – announced today it successfully defended the City of Riverside in a disability discrimination trial before a Riverside County jury.
Choie Nguyen, a former City wastewater operations dispatcher, sued the city alleging on March 28, 2013, she received sexually harassing texts from a male co-worker whom she previously dated. The City's investigation concluded Nguyen was not harassed and would have to return to the workplace. Following her return, she allegedly experienced panic attacks and severe anxiety and depression.
Nguyen claimed she was a disabled individual protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and therefore entitled to reasonable accommodations in the workplace. She requested to be placed on a shift with no overlap with the male co-worker or to be transferred to another department. Nguyen went on leave in June 2013 after the City denied her request based on operational needs.
In May 2014, Nguyen was released by her physician to return to work if given a transfer. The City initiated an interactive process with Nguyen to find a reasonable accommodation for her claimed disability. Several positions in other departments were discussed with her and, in February 2015, she interviewed for an office specialist position at a lower salary. The City selected another candidate.
Nguyen claimed her disability gave her preferred status and that she should have been selected for the office specialist position for which she interviewed. She filed a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing complaining of discrimination. In July 2015, Nguyen was offered another office specialist position at a lower pay rate. She accepted under protest, but resigned six months later, claiming she was constructively discharged. Nguyen filed her lawsuit, and the recent trial resulted in a verdict for the defense.
"This is a great result for the City of Riverside. We always believed the City acted appropriately in its treatment of Ms. Nguyen's claimed disability," said Doug Smith, lead trial lawyer for the City and managing partner of Smith Law Offices, LLP. "We just wanted our day in court and we got it!" Smith, a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), has represented public entities in trials throughout the State of California for the past 30 years. Nguyen was represented at trial by lead trial attorney Lawrence Bohm from Sacramento.
For more information about Smith Law Offices, LLP, please visit www.Smitlaw.com.
About Smith Law Offices, LLP: With considerable experience and resources, Smith Law Offices, LLP, is a boutique litigation and trial law firm specializing in defending public entities and employees throughout California in the areas of labor and employment, civil rights, regulatory matters and healthcare litigation. For more information follow Smith Law Offices, LLP on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, or visit www.Smitlaw.com.
Media Contact:Devin Manon, Smith Law Offices, LLP
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