Former RPSO deputy files lawsuit with sheriff's office

MGN

ALEXANDRIA, La. (Law Office of William Most) - A former deputy is suing the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office for allegedly suggesting he retire when he asked for a health accommodation, and firing him when he refused to retire.

Jerry McKinney worked for RPSO for twenty years.

Attorneys William Most and Kerry Murphy are representing McKinney in the case.

McKinney’s attorneys say he suffered a stroke in November 2017. He had some impairment but they say he continued to work his 8-hour shifts at the Rapides Parish Courthouse metal detector station.

They say that the following November, McKinney was transferred to a 12-hour shift at the Rapides Parish Detention Center, however, his doctor recommended he limit his shifts to 8 hours to prevent blood pressure problems.

They go on to say that at first, McKinney was allowed to work the 8-hour shift but was overruled when a superior issued the following statement later that month: “Your job description is working a 12 hour shift with offenders and if you cannot do this, my suggestion is to retire.”

According to McKinney’s attorneys, he wrote a formal request for accommodation, requesting another job with an 8-hour shift. Allegedly, Sheriff Hilton replied that there were “no other positions” McKinney was qualified for and that “we feel it is time for you to retire.” McKinney’s attorneys said that when he declined to retire, he was fired, five days before Christmas.

McKinney’s attorneys say there is no record of Hilton actively looking to find another position for McKinney.

On October 11, 2019, McKinney filed a suit in federal court, saying that RPSO violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws.

"After two decades of service, Deputy McKinney was fired five days before Christmas because he asked for a reasonable accommodation,” said Most and Murphy, McKinney’s attorneys. “That is wrong and that is illegal."

News Channel 5 reached out to Attorney Brad Kalvit for a response and we are waiting to hear back.

Copyright 2019 The Law Office of William Most and KALB. All rights reserved.