The city of Merced, California has agreed to pay a firefighter candidate $425,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit.
Ryan Staiger was offered a job as a Merced firefighter in 2007, but was considered to be medically unfit due to a limited range of motion in his right arm. Staiger suffered an arm fracture as a teenager.
The city’s doctor and a private specialist said the limited mobility prevented Staiger from being able to perform the essential functions of being a firefighter. Staiger claimed that he was able to compensate for the limited range of motion by rotating his shoulder, and filed a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing Commission.
The commission agreed with Staiger and a suit was filed against the city in Merced County Superior Court. Following a judge’s ruling that the city violated Staiger’s rights, the settlement was reached.
Staiger now works for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or CALF FIRE.