In September 2014, the Department of Correctional Services in Lincoln, Nebraska fired Lyle Hunter, a stationary engineer in the prison system’s Central Utility Plant, after he suffered two work-related injuries. In the lawsuit that followed his termination, Mr. Hunter’s attorney argued that the Corrections Department violated the Nebraska Fair Employment Practice Act in doing so.
Earlier that year, Mr. Hunter hurt his wrist and arm at work. The ensuing surgeries left him with limited mobility in his arm. When he returned to work, he was not allowed to return to the job he had before, and he was fired shortly thereafter.
The state argued that he could not perform the essential functions of the job, with or without reasonable accommodation. It also explained that he could not be given a comparable position with different duties because he was not qualified to fill it.
Mr. Hunter sought lost wages and benefits in his lawsuit. After deliberation, the jury awarded him over $79,000 in compensation.