WASHINGTON - The Justice Department today announced a consent decree resolving a retaliation lawsuit filed against the City of Colorado Springs under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The consent decree will be submitted for review and approval to Magistrate Judge Craig B. Shaffer, U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.
The ADA prohibits employers from retaliating against an individual who engages in protected activity, such as filing a discrimination charge with the EEOC or assisting in discrimination claims brought by others. The Justice Department’s complaint, which was filed in December 2007, alleges that the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) denied a promotion to one of its officers, Lance Lazoff, in retaliation for Officer Lazoff’s vocal and visible support of his wife’s ADA action against the CSPD.
A 17 year veteran of the CSPD and a nationally renowned instructor of SWAT techniques, Officer Lazoff was routinely designated Acting Sergeant in the Technical Enforcement Unit, where he has served for the past 12 years. Despite his credentials, the support of his chain of command, and qualification on the standardized components of the promotional process, Officer Lazoff was passed over for each of the 16 sergeant positions he was eligible for over a two year period.
Under the terms of the consent decree, Officer Lazoff will be promoted to Sergeant with retroactive pension contributions, seniority, and all other non-monetary benefits he would have been entitled to had he not been retaliated against. The city will also pay Officer Lazoff back pay. In addition, the City will provide training on the ADA and its retaliation prohibition to all CSPD supervisory personnel.
"Employees who exercise their civil rights to oppose discrimination against others are entitled to protection from retaliatory measures," said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The Department will continue to vigorously enforce laws that protect employees from retaliation."
Additional information about the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department is available at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/. Those interested in finding out more about federal disability rights statutes can call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TDD), or access the ADA website at www.ada.gov.