In 2010, Alberto Tarud-Saieh applied for a position as a security guard for Miami based full-service asset protection security firm FCSS. One difference about Tarud-Saieh than most of the security fleet – he only has one arm which he lost in an auto accident. In his interview with the firm he wore a prosthetic arm there was no discernable question that Tarud-Saieh was perfectly capable of sufficiently completing daily tasks as a security guard. He was hired for a driving position, ironic in that he lost his arm in an auto accident.
Tarud-Saieh said he did not know he had to wear his prosthetic arm to work, and while he occasionally uses the prosthetic arm he does not wear it daily. One such function he doesn’t use the arm for is driving, one of the functions he was hired to do. Tarud-Saieh is also licensed as both an unarmed security officer and an armed security officer by the state of Florida, another function he was hired to do.
Despite Tarud-Saieh’s disability, he was hired and assigned to a residential client. On his first day of work, Tarud-Saieh wore his prosthetic arm and performed his job duties without any issues. Tarud-Saieh did not wear his prosthetic arm on his second day of work for the same client. Allegedly the president of the community association where Tarud-Saieh was assigned called Tarud-Saieh’s employer and requested firmly that he not come back. The reason offered was that the president “did not like[Tarud-Saieh] because [he didn’t] have two arms.”
Tarud-Saieh’s manager was FCSS’s South Florida director, German Bosque, who scolded Tarud-Saieh for not wearing his prosthetic arm to the assigned work station. Again, there was no company policy that required that Tarud-Saieh to wear his prosthetic arm. It is notable that his duties did not allow him to be armed and his only responsibility was to call police when he perceived suspicious activity on the property.
Bosque told Tarud-Saieh that he “dropped the ball” for not wearing the prosthetic arm while on duty and promptly removed him from the security position at the company that complained. Additionally, Bosque communicated that there were no other positions available at FCSS and terminated his employment.
Tarud-Saieh filed a complaint with the EEOC regarding the termination, citing that FCSS retaliated against him by not offering him any further positions. The EEOC in turn initiated legal action on Tarud-Saieh’s behalf, alleging that FCSS violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. Tarud-Saieh was eventually awarded $35,922 in damages after a jury ruled in favor of the EEOC, and granted summary judgment on the EEOC’s claim for the employer’s failure to attempt come to an agreement or settlement in good faith.
Kristen Foslid, an attorney on the case said in a news release, “I worked with Mr. Tarud-Saieh for over a year and a half and personally saw how the discrimination affected him …. He hopes that other employers will get the message that they cannot rely on stereotypes and assumptions, and must treat people based on their actual abilities.”
SECURITY LAW NEWSLETTER