Former Court Security Officer Entitled to Jury Trial in Unlawful Discharge Claim

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan has ruled that CWS client and former Court Security Officer Gary Boike is entitled to a jury trial on his federal and state law claims that federal contractor Akal Security, Inc. unlawfully fired him because of his color vision deficiency, commonly known as color-blindness.  A career law enforcement officer, Boike successfully worked for twenty-five years as a police officer and then fifteen years as a CSO before Akal determined that his color vision deficiency, which he has had since birth, meant he could not do the job.

In denying Akal’s motion for summary judgment on Boike’s “regarded-as” disabled claim, Judge Joseph M. Hood determined there was a material dispute as to not only whether Akal performed the requisite individualized inquiry before firing Boike, but also whether the ability to distinguish basic colors is an essential function of the CSO job, and one that Boike could not perform.  Judge Hood also ruled that Akal had not met its burden of showing there was an absence of evidence to support Boike’s claim for punitive damages.

CWS attorneys Joshua J. Ellison and Kate M. Swearengen represented Boike in this case.  A copy of the decision can be found here.