Case: United States v. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

1:22-cv-02307 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio

Filed Date: Dec. 22, 2022

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On December 22, 2022, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio to resolve allegations that the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) violated Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Title I of the ADA requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities, including adjusting employee schedules, when it would not pose an undue hardship…

On December 22, 2022, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio to resolve allegations that the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) violated Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Title I of the ADA requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities, including adjusting employee schedules, when it would not pose an undue hardship to the employer. The lawsuit alleged that ODRC discriminated against a correctional officer, the complainant, on the basis of his disability (Type I diabetes) by failing to make reasonable accommodations to his known physical limitations. The complaint sought injunctive and declaratory relief and damages. Specifically, the complaint sought to enjoin the defendant from engaging in discriminatory employment practices, require the defendant to modify its policies in accordance with the ADA, allow the complainant to work a day shift as a reasonable accommodation, and award compensatory damages. The case was assigned to Judge Christopher A. Boyko.

The complainant worked for ODRC at Lorain Correctional Institution, with the rank of Lieutenant. At Lorain, a Lieutenant may be assigned to work one of four shifts; the first shift (5:30 am - 3:30 pm) and the Administrative Lieutenant shift (7:30 am - 3:30 pm) are considered “day shifts.” In 2016, when the complainant was promoted to Lieutenant, he was assigned to work a 1:30 pm - 9:30 pm shift. In late 2016, the complainant was hospitalized twice for health issues related to his blood sugar levels. Following these hospitalizations, the complainant was reassigned to work the first shift.

In 2019, the complainant was informed that he would be reassigned to work the 1:30 pm - 9:30 pm shift. The complainant’s doctor advised that complainant needed to keep working a day shift, because working a night shift would make it harder to manage his blood sugar levels, which would cause the complainant physical harm. The complainant then met with Lorain’s Human Resources Director, to request to remain on the day shift as a reasonable accommodation for his Type 1 diabetes, and provided a supporting letter from his endocrinologist. The request was denied, and the complainant was reassigned to the night shift. He made another request in August 2019; in response, ODRC and the complainant’s endocrinologist exchanged letters in which the endocrinologist informed ODRC of what could happen to the complainant as a result of unstable blood sugar levels: increased seizures, kidney disease, and vision problems. The Major in charge of shift assignments was not informed of these health consequences and denied the complainant’s request for reasonable accommodation again. On August 30, 2019, the complainant filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. Following an investigation, the EEOC found reasonable cause to conclude that the complainant had been discriminated against on the basis of his disability.

Also on December 22, 2022, the parties filed a consent decree that proposed general injunctive relief, reporting requirements for ODRC, specific remedial relief for the complainant, and enforcement procedures. Specifically, when ODRC had reason to believe that an accommodation may be necessary, or when an ODRC employee requested a reasonable accommodation, ODRC would engage in an interactive process to discuss that reasonable accommodation. ODRC was given 60 days to make revisions to its policy so that it was compliant with the ADA and the consent decree. ODRC would also provide live training on the requirements of the ADA using a DOJ-approved trainer. ODRC was also required to submit a report six months after the entry of the consent decree, and then submit yearly reports. The reports were to contain an acknowledgement that ODRC had complied with the consent decree and a notification of any lawsuit alleging that ODRC had discriminated on the basis of disability. Finally, within 15 days of entry of the consent decree, ODRC was to return the complainant to a day shift and offer him $50,000 as compensatory damages.

On January 31, 2023, the court entered the consent decree and dismissed the case, but retained jurisdiction to enforce compliance for the duration of the consent decree (three years). 

Summary Authors

Kady Matsuzaki (3/26/2023)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/66678355/parties/united-states-v-ohio-department-of-rehabilitation-and-correction/


Attorney for Plaintiff

Bass, Alyse (Ohio)

Attorney for Defendant

Ita, Amy R. (Ohio)

Shang, Tony Hang (Ohio)

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Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document
1

1:22-cv-02307

Complaint

Dec. 22, 2022

Dec. 22, 2022

Complaint
2

1:22-cv-02307

Consent Decree

Dec. 22, 2022

Dec. 22, 2022

Order/Opinion
6

1:22-cv-02307

Consent Decree

Jan. 31, 2023

Jan. 31, 2023

Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/66678355/united-states-v-ohio-department-of-rehabilitation-and-correction/

Last updated March 10, 2024, 4 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

Complaint against Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Filing fee exempt. Filed by United States of America. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet). (Bass, Alyse) (Entered: 12/22/2022)

1 Civil Cover Sheet

View on PACER

Dec. 22, 2022

Dec. 22, 2022

Clearinghouse
2

Proposed Consent Decree filed by United States of America. Related document(s) 1 . (Bass, Alyse) (Entered: 12/22/2022)

Dec. 22, 2022

Dec. 22, 2022

Clearinghouse

Judge Christopher A. Boyko assigned to case. (H,Ch)

Dec. 22, 2022

Dec. 22, 2022

PACER

Random Assignment of Magistrate Judge pursuant to Local Rule 3.1. In the event of a referral, case will be assigned to Magistrate Judge Jennifer Dowdell Armstrong. (H,Ch)

Dec. 22, 2022

Dec. 22, 2022

PACER
3

Magistrate Consent Form issued. Summons not provided and was not issued. (H,Ch) (Entered: 12/22/2022)

Dec. 22, 2022

Dec. 22, 2022

PACER
4

Attorney Appearance by Amy R. Ita filed by on behalf of Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. (Ita, Amy) (Entered: 01/09/2023)

Jan. 9, 2023

Jan. 9, 2023

PACER
5

Attorney Appearance of Co-Counsel by Tony Hang Shang filed by on behalf of All Defendants. (Shang, Tony) (Entered: 01/09/2023)

Jan. 9, 2023

Jan. 9, 2023

PACER
6

Order of Consent. Judge Christopher A. Boyko on 1/31/2023. (L,Ja) (Entered: 01/31/2023)

Jan. 31, 2023

Jan. 31, 2023

RECAP

Case Details

State / Territory: Ohio

Case Type(s):

Disability Rights

Disability Rights

Key Dates

Filing Date: Dec. 22, 2022

Closing Date: Jan. 31, 2026

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

An individual with Type 1 Diabetes who works for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, State

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Corrections

Facility Type(s):

Government-run

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.

Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e

Available Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Damages

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Content of Injunction:

Reasonable Accommodation

Discrimination Prohibition

Provide antidiscrimination training

Reporting

Recordkeeping

Training

Amount Defendant Pays: $50,000

Order Duration: 2023 - 2026

Issues

Disability and Disability Rights:

Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable Modifications

Discrimination Area:

Accommodation / Leave

Disparate Treatment

Discrimination Basis:

Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)