The lawsuit filed against Lakewood by a former city employee — fired for drinking on the job — was tossed out in federal court Wednesday.
Jonathan Blazek, a self-admitted alcoholic, filed a complaint in federal court alleging discrimination based on his alcoholism after he was caught drinking 21 ounces of whiskey during his shift as a snowplow driver.
He was seeking reinstatement, full back pay, and attorney fees.
The city recently filed a motion to dismiss the case. Judge Patricia Gaughan agreed.
“This validates our prior decision, which was necessary because of the egregiousness of the violations incurred on the job,” said Kevin Butler, the city’s law director. “It also validates the decisions of the arbitrator who heard this case earlier and the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, which also considered this.”
“We think our response was correct. We’re glad to see that judge Gaughan agreed.”
The city hired an outside law firm to defend the case.
City officials contended that Blazek wasn’t fired because of his alcoholism, but because he was drinking on the job.
Four hours into his shift on March 13, 2012, Blazek failed a breathalyzer test, registering .132 blood-alcohol content — twice the legal limit and more than six times the city’s allowable limit.
Several years ago, Euclid Fire Chief Michael Dworning filed a similar lawsuit in 2006 against his former employer after he resigned from his post.
In that decision, the Ohio Supreme Court sided with the city of Euclid.