Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Coach Sarkisian Files Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Former USC football coach, Steve Sarkisian, filed a lawsuit this week (copy of Complaint here). USC fired him for reportedly showing up to a team meeting drunk. This followed an allegedly drunken appearance at a pep rally earlier in the year.

As I explained in an earlier post, alcoholism may be a disability under the ADA, but employers do not have to tolerate someone showing up for work drunk. The coach claims he was not drunk . . . he only had two beers at the rally but it didn't mix well with some medication he was taking; and at the team meeting he was not drunk, although he had gotten drunk the night before.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who's a tad bit skeptical of his version. I'll note that he filed his claim under CA law and not the ADA. Also, he has some claims based on the language of his contract. For example, he claims USC failed to use a dispute resolution procedure prior to firing him.

We'll see how it goes. I predict low-value confidential settlement, but we'll see (or not if it does settle confidentially).