Missouri Jury Awards Medic’s Family $100k in Disability Discrimination Case

A jury has awarded the family of a deceased Kansas City medic $100,000 for disability discrimination and retaliation. The medic died in 2018 from an overdose of prescription medication that the family contends was suicide brought on by workplace bullying.

Giovanna Vittori died on April 10, 2018. She was 38 at the time. Vittori began experiencing PTSD following a traumatic call in 2014. She was reassigned to desk duty where she claimed she was subjected to bullying by a supervisor and colleagues. She filed an internal complaint about the bullying, and despite it being substantiated, the supervisor was not disciplined. In 2017, Vittori filed a disability discrimination complaint with the EEOC.

In 2018, she was sent for a fitness for duty evaluation. When her body was found, a copy of the fitness for duty report and a foreclosure notice were found on her bed. The family pursued the disability discrimination claim. Earlier this month the case went to trial in Jefferson County Circuit Court, with the jury awarding the family $100,000 in damages.

The Kansas City Star quoted the family’s attorney, Kevin Baldwin, as saying:

  • She was taunted and terrorized by her supervisor who didn’t believe she had PTSD.
  • The supervisor would intentionally startle and trigger her to try and catch her lying about her condition.
  • It was a long fight, but one that needed to be undertaken to vindicate the rights of Giovanna Vittori and all first responders who suffer with PTSD.

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 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, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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