Nealy v. City of Santa MonicaAnnotate this Case
Nealy was hired by Santa Monica in 1996 and became a recycling worker. Nealy injured his knee on the job in 2003. A doctor declared him temporarily totally disabled until 2005, when he was released to “light duty” with the restriction that he could not push large trash bins. Nealy requested a clerical or refuse collection vehicle operator position, but began working as a groundskeeper. Nealy met with the accommodations committee again in 2006 because of difficulty climbing or descending stairs. The city did not have any office work available; Nealy never returned to work after a 2006 emergency room visit. After additional accommodation meetings, in 2010, the city indicated that it was unable to provide reasonable accommodation into an alternative position because Nealy was not minimally qualified for the only available position that was not a promotion. The city filed a disability retirement application but, in 2011, CalPERS canceled the application for failure to submit necessary information. Nealy obtained a right-to-sue notice from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The court entered judgment for the city on disability discrimination, failure to provide reasonable accommodation, failure to engage in the interactive process, and retaliation. Meanwhile, an ALJ awarded Nealy $36,260 on his workers’ compensation claim. The court of appeal affirmed, in favor of the city.