Former worker sues the county

Disabilities claim seeks $1 million

October 26, 2007|By Tyeesha Dixon | Tyeesha Dixon,Sun reporter

A former correctional officer has sued Howard County for $1 million, claiming the detention center refused to rehire her because of a disability that she said resulted from on-the-job floor-mopping and gun-shooting mishaps.

Jolanta F. Czarny claims she suffered a work-related injury in 1993 from shooting a gun, which made her unable to perform the duties of a correctional officer, along with an injury she got from mopping the floor at work in 2002, according to court documents.

After Czarny was fired from the detention center in 2004, she says she applied for 22 county administrative jobs, 15 of which the county acknowledges receiving.

The county did not hire Czarny for any of the positions, and Czarny filed the suit in 2006. She claims that the county violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, federal civil rights law that prohibits employers from discriminating against the disabled.

"What's happened to my client is egregious, and I believe she will prevail in this case," said Courtney Swears, Czarny's attorney.

Czarny has two bachelor's degrees and almost 20 years of experience working for Howard County, making her more than qualified for any of the secretarial jobs for which she applied, Swears said.

The county's lawyers would not comment on the case because it is still open, spokesman Kevin Enright said.

But in court filings, the county argues that Czarny was not hired for the office jobs because she filled out the applications improperly, not because she was disabled.

"The plaintiff did not ... tailor her application to address the position which was advertised, or the skills, abilities and experience listed as preferred in each," the county's attorneys wrote in a motion for summary judgment filed this month.

Czarny originally filed two $1 million suits against the county and the detention center, but a judge dismissed the suit against the prison this year.

tyeesha.dixon@baltsun.com

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