Former police officer sues for discrimination over his “alcoholism disability”

A former Sarasota, Florida police officer is suing for discrimination after he was fired from his job after repeatedly turning up to work hung over.

Sgt. Clinton Knowles claims that the Sarasota Police Department discriminated against under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1992 on the grounds that “alcoholism [is] a recognized disability or handicap.”

Local media obtained a copy of Knowles’ internal investigation report, which included Knowles harassing and man-handling a pair of women at a local bar, and being regularly unavailable to perform his duty as a member of the S.W.A.T. team.

The law might be partially on his side, as the Americans with Disabilities Act states that a person who is an alcoholic is “protected by the ADA if s/he is qualified to perform the essential functions of the job. An employer may be required to provide an accommodation to an alcoholic.” However the Act also states that an employer can “discipline, discharge or deny employment to an alcoholic.”