Parking-enforcement officer Carlos Rodriguez's health condition required him to look for a restroom frequently while on the job.
A San Diego parking-enforcement officer is suing the City of San Diego for discrimination and harassment for refusing to follow his supervisor's request to issue a higher number of parking tickets on a daily basis.
A 30-year city employee, Carlos Rodriguez filed the lawsuit on June 7, days after the City of San Diego's Risk Management Division rejected his December 2015 claim for damages.
Rodriguez, 54, says the mistreatment began in January 2015, once his new boss David McBride took over. McBride urged Rodriguez to pick up his issuance of more parking citations, similar to numbers of his coworkers. Rodriguez objected to being forced to meet quotas.
As for his pace, Rodriguez says a disorder called neurosarcoidosis restricts motion in his legs. The condition also affects his bladder and results in frequent trips to the bathroom. Rodriguez had informed the city of the condition in 2010 and was placed on long-term disability leave.
Despite the documented disability, McBride allegedly tracked Rodriguez’s movements, reprimanding him when the parking officer strayed off his route to find a restroom. According to the December 2015 claim, McBride had threatened to write him up on numerous occasions.
Things culminated in September 2015. While following a street sweeper in North Park, Rodriguez made a wide turn and his truck hit a curb, flattening the tire. Instead of calling road crews to help, McBride, who showed up at the scene, allegedly called the police. Officers arrived at the scene and began to conduct drunk-driving tests. Rodriguez says that at no time did his boss support his statements to police officers that he suffered from a neurological condition and the shaking of his legs and limbs was not due to alcohol or drug intake. Rodriguez was transported to police headquarters for additional DUI tests. Rodriguez was released after officers confirmed he had a medical condition and was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Rodriguez was placed on unpaid leave for six weeks. Despite the medical condition, in November 2015 the city determined that the accident was caused as a result of Rodriguez being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
Rodriguez appealed the decision and has since been allowed to return to work, as reported by 10News in January 2016.
Rodriguez’s attorney, Dan Gilleon, says the city was given opportunities to correct the wrongdoings and avoid legal action but refused.
"This is a classic case of retaliation by the City of San Diego, which for the last eight years has demonstrated an unbelievable intolerance for whistleblowers," says attorney Gilleon. "Even after we filed the tort claim and then met with [city attorney] Jan Goldsmith personally, the city did nothing to correct the problem, and instead, doubled down on its retaliation of this honorable, 30-year city employee. This lawsuit was filed when it be came clear the city would do nothing to protect its employee until we expose the corruption with a public trial."