Former Palacios cop says termination violated ADA

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Sep. 5, 2011, 4:44pm

GALVESTON - A Matagorda County man complains that the city of Palacios violated his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, recent court documents say.

According to a lawsuit filed Aug. 22 in the Galveston Division of the Southern Division of Texas, Abel Mendoza lost his job as a patrol officer for the Palacios Police Department two years ago when he presented a doctor's note to Police Chief David Miles.

Mendoza was hired as a policeman in March 2008.

On Aug. 7, 2009, the plaintiff was directed by his doctor not return to work until three days, later citing an extreme rise in his blood pressure.

Mendoza gave the note to the city and remained off duty on Aug. 8 and 9. Then he had his regular days off on Aug. 10 and 11.

When he returned to work on Aug. 12, Mendoza claims he was summoned to the chief's office where the chief flashed the doctor's note and yelled to him, "I'm not going to have this (expletive)!" and demanded his resignation, according to the original petition.

Mendoza tendered his resignation moments after the confrontation.

He insists that he was meeting his employer's expectations in accordance with the ADA and the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act, asserting he could perform his job duties despite his condition.

Mendoza's termination because of his disability is an act of discrimination, the suit states.

Consequently, he seeks unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

Attorney Kell A. Simon of Austin is representing the plaintiff, and U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt is presiding over the case.

Case No. 3:11-cv-390

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