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Former USC coach files wrongful termination lawsuit

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Many employees across the country, including those here in Florida, enter into a contract with their employer, spelling out the terms of their employment. Although these agreements may lay out the specifics of job performance review, pay and confidentiality, the violation of certain provisions could lead to termination. However, an individual cannot be fired from a job based on the employee’s race, religion or disability. When an employee is fired for what is perceived as an inappropriate reason, but then the employer claims the termination was for violation of the contract, a significant legal battle may ensue.

This is the current status of the lawsuit between former University of Southern California football coach Steve Sarkisian and the university. Sarkisian was fired in October for allegedly being intoxicated during practices and games. Recently, Sarkisian, who claims to be an alcoholic, filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the university, claiming that his termination based on his disability of alcoholism was improper.

The university, on the other hand, claims that it did not know of Sarkisian’s alcoholism at the time, and instead terminated him based on his inability to perform essential job functions. The university further claims that Sarkisian said he was unable to perform those duties due to stress, anxiety and lack of sleep. Sarkisian is seeking $30 million.
It is worth noting that alcoholism is not recognized as a disability in every state, but there are other conditions that could give rise to a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Source: CBS Sports, “USC responds to Steve Sarkisian’s wrongful termination lawsuit,” Chip Patterson, Jan. 9, 2016

Tags: Wrongful Termination
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