Former Lakewood Employee Files Lawsuit Against the City

Self-admitted alcoholic fired after drinking on the job in March 2012.

A former employee with the city of Lakewood has filed a discrimination lawsuit against the city, after he was fired in 2012 for drinking on the job.

LoveLakewood.com reported that Jonathan Blazek was fired in March after he was found to be drinking alcohol during his shift as snow-plow operator.

Shortly afterward, he filed complaints with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and last month, filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking reinstatement, full back pay, and attorney fees.

He alleges he was unlawfully discriminated against based on alcoholism, a legally recognized disability, according to LoveLakewood.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 11.

rassie galaty January 02, 2013 at 11:07 PM
So...is it OK for a teacher to drinkon the job??
Susan Kaminski January 14, 2013 at 06:23 PM
Any updates?
Colin McEwen January 15, 2013 at 03:43 PM
Following up, Susan. Thanks!
Harriet Petti January 18, 2013 at 01:17 PM
As a recovering alcoholic, I agree that Jonathon certainly endangered the lives of many as he drove intoxicated. However it was not a choice , having untreated alcoholism means you do not have a choice, the disease demands that we drink, I drank even though I hated it at the end, I did not want to, but could not stop. Given that, if the city had previously tried to help him get treatment, and he refused, this action might be the one that saves his life, if he truly chooses to recover. Often the alcoholic in our jobs and daily lives are enabled , or ignored as a problem till we can not be anymore.As a society I hope , people educate themselves , be part of the solution.
Susan Kaminski January 18, 2013 at 04:23 PM
Harriet, while I admire your recovery, I can't help but take exception to the comment that his drinking ON THE JOB was not a "choice". With all due respect, would you board a plane with an alcoholic pilot who drank before and/or during flying because he/she didn't have a 'choice'? If he couldn't avoid drinking at that moment then perhaps he should've left his job. He and the rest of us are EXTREMELY lucky that no one was injured. The city may not have known he was an alcoholic. Since when is it the employer's responsibility? If I'm an employer and one of my employees has cancer, am I obligated to force that person to seek treatment? The city has excellent medical benefits which includes treatment substance abuse. The city most likely has an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) that can confidentially assist employees. If the employee CHOSE not to seek treatment, it's not the employer's fault. Just as someone posted earlier, cases like these make it difficult for those who truly have disabilities and have been truly discriminated against.


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