March 5, 2011 at 11:59 pm #89237
AnonymousInactiveMarch 5, 2011 at 11:59 pmPost count: 14413
I was a flight dispatcher with a major US airline for 18 years until I was wrongfully terminated in January of 2008 after testing positive for amphetamine during a “random” DOT drug test. 3 months before my termination I had passed my annual competency check with the reviewer writing on my review form that I was a very competent dispatcher and that my many years of experience were quite evident during my review. My primary care physician had certified twice to the airline that my use of Adderall would not adversely affect my job performance. I had been diagnosed with ADD in June of 2003, and was taking prescribed Adderall to manage my symptoms. The medical review officer didn’t feel that taking Adderall for ADD was a legitimate medical reason, so she reported my test as positive which resulted in my immediate termination and the FAA exerting its emergency revocation authority (which is normally reserved for suspected cases of “drug kingpin activity”) to revoke my aircraft dispatchers license. Before that, the airline had subjected me to an improper mental exam after I had revealed my ADD status in a totally unrelated court document that I had filed in a cause of mandamus against Indiana Adult Protective Services in the state of Indiana. This mandatory mental exam was due to perceived “liability issues” that the airline felt could arise due to my disclosure. I filed a complaint with the EEOC in March of 2008 and finally received a “right to sue” letter from the EEOC in March of 2010 and filed my lawsuit against the airline in July of 2010. I have been unable to find an attorney to represent my in my wrongful termination/discrimination lawsuit. I have tried the AZ Center for Disability Law and Community Legal Services but neither has the resources to help me. I can not afford to use the AZ BAR Association referral service again because it charges $40.00 per referral. I have been able to manage my case pro se up until this point, but the next steps are the scheduling conference and jury trial, and I desperately need to find legal help on a contingency basis before then. I don’t know where else to turn. Do you know of any attorneys in Phoenix, AZ who would be able to help me?REPORT ABUSEMarch 6, 2011 at 12:21 am #101605
AnonymousInactiveMarch 6, 2011 at 12:21 amPost count: 14413
I know an attorney in Scottsdale, but I think he does real estate law. I will ask him if he knows of anyone who might be able to help you. The more I hear about AZ, the less I like it.REPORT ABUSEMarch 6, 2011 at 6:28 am #101606
AnonymousInactiveMarch 6, 2011 at 6:28 amPost count: 14413
Thank you. This is a winnable case, and whoever takes it stands to make a lot of money. I’ve tried to contact numerous attorneys, but they have either charged an outrageous initial consultation fee or haven’t bothered to call me back at all.REPORT ABUSEMarch 6, 2011 at 8:32 am #101607
AnonymousInactiveMarch 6, 2011 at 8:32 amPost count: 14413
Hmmm, that’s odd since they (the lawyers) usually would come running if they smelled blood. At least that’s what a doctor I used to see in NY used to tell me. He is Cdn like me and said the malpractice insurance rates were crazy, crazy down there because of that fact.
Not doubting your case at all. It just seems like the people who really need the help are the ones who are left out in the cold. Wish I could give you a name to help you out. My only connection with AZ is with my DH’s family who live down in Tucson.
I do understand the issue somewhat as when my daughter was signed on with the major airline up here (as a FA), she had to have a physical before being sent off for training. She was asked at that time if she had ever been seen by a psychiatrist, which she had while off at university. The fellow incorrectly diagnosed her as bipolar and put her on meds (too much time trying to lead or be part of every social justice club on campus, hold down a part-time job, have a boyfriend + little attention to assignments + her first every in her lifetime low marks = plain old depression).
When she moved back home she was followed by another psychiatrist here. He promptly took her off the meds and told her she had been incorrectly diagnosed but the issue of that one-time (incorrect) diagnosis and meds prescribed for it became an issue.
This psychiatrist was furious when he heard what happened when she went for her medical and demanded to have the name of the doctor in charge of in-flight crew/medical issues. When she provided him the name, he said “Oh… I know that guy. I golf with him just about every week in the summer. I’ll just give him a call and set this straight.” And he did.
Her 1st psychiatrist had declared her bipolar based on the notion that I had been BP. Yes, I took meds for BiP for about 7 years because I had too had simply been depressed. When I told my doc that I was awake most of the night I was told that meant I was bipolar. Then one day, my guy said, “You know, I don’t think you’re BP at all. You don’t need any meds and don’t even need to be seeing me at all.”
About 5 years after that, I wanted meds for my ADD and went to a new psychiatrist who deals with adult ADD and he told me I was a ‘classic case’. He said he sees a lot of ADD people who have been told they’re BP because of their high energy, ‘creative’ thinking and night-owl habits. (I’ve never slept, even as a baby. Why wasn’t I BP then? LOL)
One last note, the airline’s Medical Officer didn’t even live here (YYZ). He was based in YUL and just flew in for weekly golf sessions on Friday. My daughter was just lucky enough to see a psychiatrist when she moved back from Quebec who was one of the guy’s summer golf buddies.
And people wonder why there is a stigma with taking brain drugs and seeing a psychiatrist? Because it can cost you your job!!! Just as it has done to you!
I wish you good luck in this matter. Hopefully, you’ll find someone to take on your case. Since the time that this happened to you I know there is a little bit better understanding of ADD and its issues and how the meds are used to assist us.
Please keep us posted with your progress as we’d like to hear how you make out with this.REPORT ABUSEMarch 6, 2011 at 8:40 am #101608
AnonymousInactiveMarch 6, 2011 at 8:40 amPost count: 14413
Well, my attorney contact says he doesn’t know any attorneys who specialize in labor law and thinks you will have a hard time finding one who will take the case on a contingent fee basis. I’m sorry–I tried.
So, I’m just going to play devil’s advocate for a moment. I’m not a lawyer, but I’ve been exposed to a lot of litigation over the course of my 20+ year career in insurance. I’m not so sure that the case would be worth a lot of money for an attorney. Typically in EEOC cases, if the court found in your favor, the defendant would simply be required to give you your job back (although they can lawfully reassign you to another position that they might feel is “safer”), and probably some amount of back pay and a little extra for whatever amount the court thinks is sufficient for any emotional distress they caused you with all of this. I know you’re pissed off about it, and rightfully so, but try not to have any unrealistic expectations about the outcome of a lawsuit.
But having said that, i wish you the best and I hope that you are able to achieve a satisfactory resolution very soon.REPORT ABUSEMarch 6, 2011 at 3:59 pm #101609
AnonymousInactiveMarch 6, 2011 at 3:59 pmPost count: 14413
Thanks for trying. If I do have to fight my case by myself, at least I have a few things going for me. The passage of the ADA Amendments Act (which makes it much easier to prove a disability) for one. But I guess I’ll cross that bridge whenever I get to it. Now I’m waiting for the judge to rule on the company’s motion to dismiss (I guess it wouldn’t hurt to let people know that the “company” is US Airways because my case is public record). US Airways is arguing that my case is untimely because I filed my EEOC complaint in 2008 and didn’t file my lawsuit until 2010 (because the EEOC didn’t issue me my “right to sue” letter until then). I believe that US Airways motion to dismiss will be denied because the US Supreme Court ruled against FedEx in FedEx v. Hollowecki in 2008 and FedEx presented the exact same arguments that US Airways is now presenting. There have also been numerous 9th Circuit cases whose decisions favor my position (Casavantes v. CA State Univ., Sacramento and Edelman v. Lynchburg College). Also, the 11th Circuit recognized the private right of action for an improper medical inquiry under the ADA in Harrison v. Benchmark Electronics Huntsville, Inc., and the 9th Circuit ruled that conduct resulting from a disability (such as taking medication) is part of the disability and not separate grounds for termination in Gambini v. Total Renal Care, Inc. Juries historically have decided cases based on how they would have wanted to have been treated in a similar situation and US Airways is going to be hard pressed to explain why I wasn’t subjected to 60 months of repeat testing in lieu of termination (like it did with 2 flight attendants who tested positive for marijuana during the same time that I was tested). I was earning $76,000/yr when I was terminated, so I’m asking for back pay plus future pay (including step increases), and if it does go to trial, a jury can grant punitive damages as well. If I had a lawyer representing me, US Airways would most likely want to settle out of court, but since I’m representing myself it will most likely go the distance. It’s frustrating because I can’t even talk with a lawyer in order to be able to explain all of this to them. All they hear from their secretary is “wrongful termination/discrimination lawsuit” and none of the details of my case because I can’t afford the $325/hr initial consultation fee that most want to charge me. Arghhhhhh!REPORT ABUSEMarch 6, 2011 at 4:06 pm #101610
AnonymousInactiveMarch 6, 2011 at 4:06 pmPost count: 14413
Ironically, I was at the Arizona Biltmore resort last night visiting with my aunt who is here for a conference, and there was a Maricopa County BAR association dinner being held in the ballroom. I couldn’t swing a stick without hitting a lawyer, and yet I couldn’t talk to any of them about my case (I didn’t feel that it would have been appropriate to crash the dinner, and I probably would have been escorted out anyway).REPORT ABUSEMarch 6, 2011 at 5:49 pm #101611
AnonymousInactiveMarch 6, 2011 at 5:49 pmPost count: 14413
Just because a jury can doesn’t mean a jury will. That’s the gamble the attorneys are not willing to take.
The UA lawyers are filing to dismiss as a routine procedure. They have to do that even if they know it won’t be thrown out.
If you have to represent yourself, use your ADD Superpowers! It seems like you already are. Many years ago, the IRS came after me for half a million dollars that they thought my ex-husband owed them (this was before innocent spouse protection) . I took them on by myself and prevailed. If I can do it, so can you.REPORT ABUSEMarch 6, 2011 at 7:46 pm #101612
AnonymousInactiveMarch 6, 2011 at 7:46 pmPost count: 14413
I’m glad that your case worked out in your favor, and thanks for the words of support I’m hoping that, if I can show an attorney that I beat US Airways’ motion to dismiss, that I’ll be able to get them to take my case, and perhaps I’ll be able to find one that would be willing to work with a legal finance company–such as Oasis Legal Finance. I believe that these companies finance cases based on the merits of the case, and don’t require repayment unless the litigant wins. I have to do more research on this, but it’s looking like that is the avenue that I am going to have to take. My only other option would be to take the LSAT, and I’d probably be able to finish law school by the time my case finally goes to trial–the judge is really taking his good ol’ time on ruling on US Airways’ motion when it should be a no brainer. The FedEx v. Hollowecki decision should be controlling regarding the whole EEOC matter, but US Airways’ attorneys only cited it twice in their reply and then they did so misleadingly. As agents of the court, this borders on being completely unethical.REPORT ABUSEMarch 6, 2011 at 8:38 pm #101613
AnonymousInactiveMarch 6, 2011 at 8:38 pmPost count: 14413
You never know, this whole ordeal may lead you to your dream career. You seem like you would make an excellent attorney.REPORT ABUSEMarch 20, 2011 at 8:24 pm #101614
AnonymousInactiveMarch 20, 2011 at 8:24 pmPost count: 14413
Sorry, I didn’t get the whole thing read, so maybe you’ve mentioned this already…were you in a union by chance?REPORT ABUSEApril 15, 2011 at 4:05 am #101615
AnonymousInactiveApril 15, 2011 at 4:05 amPost count: 14413
I don’t understand it.
I know several people who take adderal at our airline. My doctor, a psychiatrist, said when the drug shows up in a drug test, he writes a letter to verify that that the employee is on prescription adderal under his care and management. No one has ever been fired for taking the drug for ADHD.
About the LSATs…..you’ll be in even bigger debt if you go to law school now. Job prospects are terrible, and tuition is outrageous. Trust me, I know!REPORT ABUSEJuly 23, 2015 at 2:04 am #127324
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