Worker dispatched to Afghanistan claims he was terminated for taking Prozac

Michelle Massey Jan. 25, 2011, 3:00am

A Tangipahoa resident who worked in Afghanistan for a private company claims he was terminated from employment at AECOM Inc. for taking the anti-depressant medication Prozac.

Colin Lacy filed a disability discrimination lawsuit against his employer, which provides professional, technical and management support services throughout the world, on Jan. 17 in federal court in New Orleans.

Prior to being hired by the defendant in March 2010, Lacy underwent a rigorous screening process including medical and physical certifications, he claims. In April 2010, Lacy was sent to Afghanistan to begin work.

According to the lawsuit, Lacy's supervisors discovered he was taking Prozac after he began working. Before his 30 day review, Lacy was instructed to be reevaluated by a physician, the suit claims.

Lacy claims he was assured that he would be permitted to resume his employment if cleared by the physician. While waiting for the medical reevaluation, AECOM regarded Lacy as disabled and terminated his employment on Oct. 13, 2010. Less than a month later, Lacy was medically cleared to serve in an operational environment, he claims.

Lacy states he has not heard anything from AECOM despite his efforts to initiate communication. He claims the defendant is not considering re-employment because he made a complaint of disability discrimination.

AECOM is accused of disability discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and retaliating after Lacy filed a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Lacy is seeking damages for loss of income and benefits, pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, inconvenience, humiliation, front pay, punitive damages, attorney's fees, interest and court costs.

Lacy is represented by Covington attorney Dale E. Williams. A jury
trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-00090

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