Department of Justice Sued by Marshall for Failing to Accommodate Longer Commute

The United States Department of Justice and Attorney General Jefferson B. Sessions III are being sued by a former employee of the U.S. Marshals Service for transferring him to a location that extended his daily commute, claiming doing so was a failure to accommodate his disability.

Alexander Rodriguez was employed as a senior detention enforcement officer  with the United States Marshals Service (USMS) in Orange County, close to where he resided in San Diego County, for twelve years, according to the complaint.

Rodriguez claims he suffers from “diabetes, asthma, high cholesterol, acute back, neck and foot pain, leg numbness and rapid heartbeat.” He also claims that the USMS knew of his disabilities and “had provided accommodations to him in the past without any hardship. . . . ”

In April 2013 Rodriguez was transferred to a USMS facility in Los Angeles. He claims that the commute of 35 miles would take an additional six hours “through Los Angeles commuter traffic,” per day. He further claims the additional commute would exacerbate his disabilities. 

Rodriguez sought an accommodation of his disabilities by asking that he not to be transferred to Los Angeles, but claims that his request was not considered. He claims the USMS “failed to initiate or partake in any form of interactive process in order to determine a reasonable accommodation, thereby establishing discrimination against [him] based on his disability, a failure to accommodate and a failure to participate in the interactive process,” the complaint states.

In the complaint Rodriguez claims his doctor supported his request and stated that the longer commute “was severely harming [his] health.”

Finally, Rodriguez claims he was “forced to end his employment with the USMS as a result of the undue stress caused by the discriminatory practices and failure to provide accommodations,” the complaint states.

Rodriguez is represented by Peter Cook of  Glendale, California who filed the case in the Central District of California.

 Image Source: Barry Davis (Flickr)