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Washington State Settles DOC Disability Accommodation Suit for $30,000

On January 24, 2008, the State of Washington settled a suit over lack of disability accommodation at the Department of Corrections (DOC) for $30,000.

Carolea Mathison, a DOC guard with astigmatism, was assigned to the information desk. The DOC was aware of her disability and that was why she was assigned to duties that only involved greeting visitors and answering phones. After more than twenty years at this employment, Mathison was informed by the DOC that she would have to qualify on the use of firearms, even though she was not to be issued a firearm.

Mathison's vision caused her to fail her firearms qualifications. The DOC told her she would be terminated. She filed a grievance with her union and won. Then the DOC placed her on administrative leave for being unable to meet an essential job function. She filed a lawsuit in Walla Walla County Superior Court. The DOC settled the lawsuit by paying Mathison $25,000, paying all back pay, reinstating 302.6 hours of back leave, granted an additional 173.4 hours of leave and paying $5,000 in attorney fees. Mathison was represented by Spokane Valley attorney Christine M. Weaver.

See: Mathison v. Washington State Department of Corrections, Walla Walla County Superior Court, No. 06-2-626-8.

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Related legal case

Mathison v. Washington State Department of Corrections