Balto. Co. settles disability discrimination lawsuit

Public works laborer says county forced him to stop working

August 07, 2013|By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore County has settled another lawsuit by a county worker who claimed to have been illegally forced out of his job.

Under the agreement, William Galanti, a 71-year-old laborer in the Department of Public Works, will return to work Sept. 1 at a salary of about $45,600 and receive about $143,000 in back pay, pension adjustments, legal costs and damages, according to his attorney, Kathleen Cahill.

Galanti had alleged that the county violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by making him retire after he fractured his hip when he fell on the job in 2011, even though he recovered within his available sick time. As part of the settlement, he also will receive workers' compensation for the injury.

In May, the county settled three other lawsuits by two former firefighters and a former police officer who also alleged they had been forced out for medical reasons. Those settlements cost the county a total of more than $1 million.

Last year, the county agreed to pay $500,000 to settle a federal Department of Justice lawsuit alleging that the county had a pattern of discrimination, mostly on the basis of medical conditions.

In a statement Wednesday, Cahill said Galanti "did hard, unglamorous work day after day for decades to keep our roads safe."

"He is extraordinarily vigorous and committed at 71 years young, and we are thrilled he will be going back to work and receiving compensation for all he has been put through by the county," Cahill said.

County Attorney Mike Field said officials maintain that Galanti cannot safely perform his duties as a laborer and heavy-equipment operator.

"This settlement allows him to return to work as a shop clerk where he will not pose a safety risk to himself or the public," Field said in a statement. "At the same time it protects the county from the costs and uncertainties of further litigation."

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