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Disabled Louisiana Police Department Employee Settles Discrimination Suit with City

by Christopher Zoukis

Walter Steele, a city employee who worked with the Oakland Police Department in Louisiana and had cerebral palsy with partial paralysis, agreed to a settlement with the Oakdale police chief and the city after he was required to do more work for less pay due to his disability.

     Steele was hired by the Oakland Police Department in September 2003, and in October 2006 assumed warden duties in the jail, but without warden pay. He was not promoted until two years after he became eligible, based on a lack of qualifications. Allegedly, Police Chief Bobby Gordon was trying to get Steele to do extra training that was not required of others, and denied him equal pay because of his disability.

     On December 12, 2008, Steele and his wife Carol filed a complaint in federal court against Gordon, the department, and the city of Oakdale. The Steeles argued that the defendants' actions violated Steele's Fourth, Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act.

     On March 9, 2010, Judge Dee D. Drell removed the police department from the suit and dismissed the claims of Fourth and Sixth Amendment violations. A settlement was reached with Gordon and Oakdale, and the case was dismissed by Judge Drell on March 13, 2012.

See: Steele, et al., v. City of Oakdale, et al., United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Case No. 1:08-cv-01947-DDD-JDK (Mar. 9, 2012)

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Related legal case

Steele, et al., v. City of Oakdale, et al.