NFL Team Sued for Disability Discrimination

August 24, 2009 ( - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced the settlement of a disability discrimination lawsuit against the St. Louis Rams, the city's National Football League (NFL) team, for $134,000 and remedial relief on behalf of Ron DuBuque, a long-term employee with a seizure disorder.

According to the EEOC announcement, under the terms of the consent decree, filed today for approval in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, the Rams will pay a total of $134,000 to settle the case – including emotional distress damages of $100,000 and a $34,000 contract in which DuBuque will be engaged as a Rehabilitation Specialist for two years. The decree also requires the team to provide training on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to managers and supervisors of the Rams.

DuBuque, who had been an assistant trainer with the team for 11 years before he was fired, had epilepsy during his entire employment. The lawsuit alleged that he had successfully performed his job until the Rams’ management, in June 2006, claimed he was a medical liability and posed a threat to his own safety and that of coworkers.

DuBuque was diagnosed with trauma-induced epilepsy in 1984.

The suit is not the first disability claim the NFL has seen. In August 2007, an EEOC lawsuit was filed by two players suspended by the NFL for substance abuse who claim they were discriminated against under the Americans with Disabilities Act because alcoholism is a disability (see Suspended NFL Players Claim Discrimination ).