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Posible Job Discrimination advice needed

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  • Posible Job Discrimination advice needed

    I just joined the group and was browsing around in search of answers. I'm an adult stutterer that most people consider to
    be "over it". I do get hung up and block occasionally, but never for more than a second or two when I'm not paying attention. I've managed to get through a good portion of my life (38) and build a decent business, where public speaking and presentations are a daily activity. Some friends and co-workers usually look at me funny when I say I stutter because many have never picked up on it.
    About 10 years ago I started voluteering as an EMT in my town and one strange thing I found out was that communicating in high-pressure life threating situations seem to have a positive effect on my stuttering that transferred to other areas of my life. A friend of mine who worked with me as an EMT, joined the local police department. Knowing that I also had an interest in law enforcement, my friend encoraged me to apply for a part time police officer position in the department which I did.
    I scored very well on the written and physical testing. The board style interview was tough, but I though I did fairly well, I may have stuttered once or twice. A few days latter I was called in to meet with the decision maker who told me I did real well in all areas but the board uncovered one "problem", my stuttering. He then told me that he/they couldn't hire an officer that had ANY stutter due to liability concerns. Explaining that I hadn't ever had an issue communicating under stress in my 10 years of EMT work didn't seem to matter.
    I know that I can do the job, as do others in the department. I'd rather not turn this into a "legal" issue (not even sure if
    stuttering falls under the ADA). Are there any police officers or others in this group that could give me some advice on how to proceed here ? I need to follow up on this fairly quickly.
    Thanks in advance !

  • #2
    Thumbs up for having applied and not living your life in a shell.

    Yes, many people do over come their studdering through other activities (singing, speaking to large crowds, and other overt activities).

    You may not have any recourse unless you provided medical documention/proof prior to your interviews, and background that your not anymore likly to studder in a stressful sitution than any other Officer.

    Your failure to provide your studdering history/information up front, prior to any testing could have been considered, that you were attempting to hide a medical previous/possible recurrent condition. If you had provided that information up front with medical documentation, that maybe another story.

    Apply to another department and this time be upfront, i'm not saying that you were intentionally hiding your condition, but did you reveal it upfront? Trust me there are Officers out there with worse illments than yours (high blood pressure, low blood sugar, diabetis,ect).

    To be honest with you and to save yourself any additional anguish, check with the disabilities league for advise on your sitution, I honestly don't know if any department would be found at fault by not hiring you with the key word here "KNOWN" possible risk of life to other Officers and/or citizens.

    If your really wanting to become a Police Officer, continue trying, rest assured, some department will welcome you with open arms. Everyone needs to find that right department.

    Good luck and nothing but the best to you, please let us know your findings so that we may learn alongside you.
    Fear is only as deep as the mind allows

    Comment


    • #3
      This is a tough one my friend. I have a medical condition that falls under the ADA but your case may be different. It will clearly state in the job description the abilities required to be an officer. If a particular condition does not impede you from performing all of the duties of the position then I would think you would have a case based on the ADA.

      Now the problem may arise in that most job descriptions state the applicant must have the ability to speak clearly. This particular department may feel that your stuttering falls outside this parameter. In which case I don't know if you would win during civil litigation.

      An example of this that I always use is the Palm Beach county deputy or the Daytona Beach firefighter that are each missing a leg and have a prosthetic. Their respective job descriptions probably state something along the lines of: must be able to run, climb etc... well they both can do these things.

      In the end what it comes down to is retaining an attorney. Is it worth it for a job you don't have yet and not get anyways? And is parttime too!! probably not.

      As the Sgt said keep applying. And let those departments know up front of the condition as well as have documention stating it's no longer an issue.

      Comment


      • #4
        I have a mild case of epilepsy. I have been turned down by every branch of the service because of this. I haven't have a seizure in almost 5 years but I have to take daily medication. Is this something that would disqualify me from becoming a LEO?

        Comment


        • #5
          Serpico, I would say yes. It comes down to a liability issue. But I am not a doctor nor a recruiter. Contact some agencies, let them know that you're interested in applying and tell them about the epilepsy. See what they say.

          Comment


          • #6
            Serpico are you or have you taken dilantin or litalian? If you have it under control and can have a medical doctor declare in writing that it is under total control as long as you properly continue to take your dilantin or litalin prescribtion you "MIGHT" be in the clear. Somewhere in the back of this old mans mind I recall some where that five years of control may make you eligiable.

            Good luck to you and if you really want a job in law enforcement, keep at it and try different departments.
            Fear is only as deep as the mind allows

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Sgt. Friday
              Serpico are you or have you taken dilantin or litalian? If you have it under control and can have a medical doctor declare in writing that it is under total control as long as you properly continue to take your dilantin or litalin prescribtion you "MIGHT" be in the clear. Somewhere in the back of this old mans mind I recall some where that five years of control may make you eligiable.

              Good luck to you and if you really want a job in law enforcement, keep at it and try different departments.
              I'm on Depakote, the same stuff they give out for severe headaches. My epilepsy is more of a sleeping disorder than anything else. I never had what most consider a seizure. My thing was, I'd wake up and shake and tremble slightly....similar to when one has the chills. It wasn't anything really serious, but after a year of it happening daily, I wasn't willing to still be inconvienced.

              Thanks to Sgt. Friday and Mait for the replies.

              Comment


              • #8
                Update

                Ok, a few updates on things I've discovered for those that are following this thread.
                My follow up meeting with the hiring authority wasn't very productive. Basically they told me that even if I had medical certification that my stuttering would not effect my job that they may still discriminate based on it.

                I did consult with an attorney that has a base of experiance in this area and found out a couple of things:
                - Stuttering does qualify as a handicap under the ADA, and has been successfully tried in regard to public safety positions.
                - Disclosing a handicap durring an interview process is not required.

                I'll post updates on this as I learn more. Looks like its time to see the Chief.........

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Update

                  Originally posted by gman
                  Ok, a few updates on things I've discovered for those that are following this thread.
                  My follow up meeting with the hiring authority wasn't very productive. Basically they told me that even if I had medical certification that my stuttering would not effect my job that they may still discriminate based on it.

                  I did consult with an attorney that has a base of experiance in this area and found out a couple of things:
                  - Stuttering does qualify as a handicap under the ADA, and has been successfully tried in regard to public safety positions.
                  - Disclosing a handicap durring an interview process is not required.

                  I'll post updates on this as I learn more. Looks like its time to see the Chief.........
                  So disclosing a handicap isn't required during the initial interview process but when it comes time for the medical exam, they're going to have the impression that you tried to hide it from them.
                  Seems to me that it's a lose-lose situation, regardless of being able to perform all LEO related activities & duties properly.

                  You could sue the department, but if you applied at another agency and they got wind of this, do you think you're going to be given the time of day?
                  Last edited by Serpico; 12-11-2004, 11:11 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    G-man, keep us posted on your situtation. I'm by no means a expert when it comes to ADA rules and violations and maybe we can all learn something from this (if we agree or not with the findings). Good luck to you and I hope you find what your seeking.
                    Fear is only as deep as the mind allows

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have worked with a couple people who stuttered. We only had one person who stuttered on the radio most of the time. He is an excellent asset, but the stuttering does get in the way sometimes for the new guys. As far as the people that have worked with him for a while. We dont have a hard time understanding him because we have worked with him so long.

                      Comment

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