Jeffersonville Settles Disability Discrimination Case

An Indiana firefighter who had a lung removed and suffered a heart attack but never the less wanted to stay on the job, has received a monetary settlement from the City of Jeffersonville following a Federal discrimination lawsuit.

Major Irvin “Mac” Kircher, a firefighter with the Jeffersonville Fire Department since 1971, had a lung removed in 2002 and suffered a heart attack July 20, 2008. Somehow his cardiologist approved him to return to work in November 2008. Kircher was assigned administrative duties until March 23, 2009, at which point he was terminated because the city concluded he would never be able to return to full duty.

The termination cost Major Kircher somewhere around $300,000 that he would have been entitled to had be been allowed to continue working under a drop program. He filed suit in state court and later in Federal court alleging violation of his due process rights (no hearing prior to termination) and discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The settlement followed Federal court mediation efforts, and is reported to be for $130,000. For more on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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