Matthew Lickona 7 a.m., April 24
Former City employee who was fired for falling asleep on the job is suing the City of San Diego
Sanchez Birdsong claims he was fired for having sleep apnea.
A former Assistant Water Distribution Operator for the City of San Diego has filed suit against the City for wrongful termination after his supervisors found him constantly nodding off on the job.
But it wasn't boredom that caused Sanchez Birdsong to fall asleep at the desk. He suffers from Sleep Apnea, a sleep disorder that, according to medical website, WebMD, "occurs when a person's breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times."
Birdsong was fired on October 2012, after 18 years with the City, despite claims that his supervisors were well aware of his condition. He informed them about the sleep apnea back in 2006 and again in May 2011, after visiting the doctor.
"Despite being made aware of his medical condition which caused him excessive daytime drowsiness, City continued to reprimand Birdsong for falling asleep at work...The reprimands received by Birdsong included, but not limited to, suspensions and an advance notice of termination," reads the April 1 lawsuit.
Birdsong alleges that his condition caused his coworkers and supervisors to mistreat him and discriminate against him.
"Birdsong is informed and believes and thereon alleges that his medical condition was a substantial factor, if not the sole factor, in City's discriminatory treatment of Birdsong in violation of Government Code Section 12940 et seq."
Read the lawsuit here: