When hiring a lawyer, one of the best measures of their expertise is their recent history in litigating cases similar to yours. So if you are looking for experienced legal counsel regarding employment and disability discrimination in Montana, look no further than Tommy Murphy.
Tommy recently obtained a judgment and award of attorney fees in a disability discrimination case known as Pederson v. Fred’s Appliance, Inc.
Pederson v. Fred’s Appliance, Inc.
Mr. Pederson was a delivery driver for Fred’s Appliance in Missoula, Montana. Following a work-related shoulder injury, Mr. Pederson tried to return to modified light duty employment, but Fred’s Appliance refused and failed to accommodate his restrictions. Instead, they terminated his employment.
Murphy Law Firm successfully helped Mr. Pederson obtain workers’ compensation benefits and also filed a Charge of Discrimination with Human Rights Bureau in Montana.
Following a contested case hearing, the Office of Administrative Hearings entered judgment against Fred’s Appliance for $53,851.85 in compensatory damages. The judgment was affirmed in Missoula County District Court, and Fred’s was ordered to pay Mr. Pederson’s attorney fees and costs.
On August 4, 2021, the District Court entered a final judgment against Fred’s Appliance in the total amount of $71,922.47—representing $53,851.85 in compensatory damages, $17,950.62 in attorney fees, and $120.00 in costs.
The decision was featured by Montana Law Week.
What is disability discrimination?
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:
“Disability discrimination occurs when an employer or other entity covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, or the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, treats a qualified individual who is an employee or applicant unfavorably because he or she has a disability.
Such protections for disabled workers also apply to employees who were injured on the job and are ordered by their doctor to follow modified light duty restrictions or not work at all. In short, the federal government and Montana law require employers to make reasonable efforts to accommodate disabled and injured workers to the best of their ability.
If an employer treats an employee unfairly because they have a temporary or permanent physical or mental disability, they are guilty of disability discrimination.
In the case of Mr. Pederson, the court ruled that he was unfairly fired and discriminated against due to his job-related disability.
What constitutes a “disability” in Montana?
When people think of a disability, they often picture a person in a wheelchair. While such physical impairments certainly qualify as a disability and are included in disability discrimination protections, there are many other types of injuries that qualify as a disability.
Unfortunately, not all medical conditions are protected from employment discrimination, which is why it can be valuable to understand when your injury is or is not considered a disability.
Here are a few examples of common conditions that qualify as a disability:
- Musculoskeletal issues
- Cardiovascular conditions
- Vision impairment and hearing loss
- Breathing conditions, such as COPD
Talk to an experienced Montana disability discrimination lawyer
If you or a loved one were treated unfairly at your workplace, during the job application process or while seeking workers’ compensation benefits because of a disability, Murphy Law Firm in Great Falls, MT, has a dedicated team of disability discrimination lawyers who can fight for your rights and help you collect restitution.
Since 2014, Tommy Murphy has successfully represented many injured Montanans and their families, helping them get the compensation they are owed. Tommy is admitted to practice in all Montana Courts and the U.S. District Court. He is also a member of the Cascade County Bar, Montana State Bar, American Bar Association, Montana Trial Lawyers Association, and the Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group.