Fired U of Southern California Coach Sues University for Discrimination

December 8, 2015

Steve Sarkisian, the former head football coach of the University of Southern California who was fired in October after he appeared to be intoxicated at a game and during team meetings, sued the university Monday, alleging that he was discriminated against on the basis of a disability.

In the lawsuit, Sarkisian's lawyers argue that the university breached the football coach's contract when it dismissed him while he was seeking treatment for alcoholism. Sarkisian is suing for unspecified damages, as well as the $12.6 million left on his contract. "Instead of supporting its head coach, Steve Sarkisian, when he needed its help the most, USC kicked him to the curb," the suit states. "Instead of honoring the contract it made with Steve Sarkisian, USC kicked him to the curb. Instead of accommodating Steve Sarkisian's disability, USC kicked him to the curb."

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, an employer is not required to accommodate an employee's intoxication or the effects of excessive use of alcohol. It is required to accommodate an employee's seeking of treatment, however. In a statement Monday, the university said it does not comment on pending litigation.

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