CHICAGO – Former United States Postal Service employee Anthony Sansone has been awarded $1,128,774 in damages in a disability discrimination lawsuit brought against the USPS. On Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, Senior US District Court Judge Milton Shadur awarded Mr. Sansone $828,744 in lost wages; this is in addition to an earlier federal jury verdict awarding Mr. Sansone $300,000 in damages for emotional distress, the maximum award allowed under the law.
Mr. Sansone was previously employed as a maintenance supervisor at the USPS bulk mail facility in Forest Park, Illinois. He suffers multiple sclerosis and requires an accessible space in which to park his van and deploy its wheelchair ramp. From 1999 to 2011, the USPS provided such a spot, but in 2011 that accommodation was suddenly, and without good reason, taken away from him, leaving Mr. Sansone unable to access his job.
“Federal law requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities,” said attorney Paul Strauss, who was co-counsel to Mr. Sansone with Eimer Stahl lawyers. “Mr. Sansone asked for an extraordinarily reasonable accommodation – a handicapped parking space – so he could continue to perform a job he had held for more than a decade. We hope this verdict reminds the US Postal Service and other employers that persons in the disabled community is eager to work, and in many instances require only very simple modifications to perform their jobs.”
The jury found the Postal Service failed to accommodate Mr. Sansone’s disability as required by law. He was awarded damages for the severe and ongoing depression he suffered as a result of the loss of his job, which was his primary means of coping with the mental stress of his disability. After further proceedings, Judge Shadur awarded him damages to compensate him for his loss of employment income.
Mr. Sansone has been represented pro bono by Eimer Stahl LLP lawyers Ben Waldin and Jacob Hamann, attorney Paul Strauss, and the Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights. The case is Sansone v. Donahoe, No. 1:13-cv-3415 (N.D. Ill.).
For more coverage of this case, please visit Michael Bologna’s article in Bloomberg BNA’s Daily Labor Report, “Postal Worker Wins $1.1 Million in Disability Case.”