HigherEdMorning.comSecurity guard sues to use cane at work

Security guard sues to use cane at work

July 18, 2009 by Taylor Hannigan
Posted in: From the Courts, In this week's e-newsletter, Latest News & Views, Tech News, Uncategorized

Should a campus security guard be able to do his job without using a cane? This college thought so – and wound up in court.

The guard had been working at Suffolk County Community College for more than 20 years when a car ran over his foot.

Four years later, he asked to use a cane at work to take some pressure off his injured foot. When the request was denied, he sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The court denied the college’s motion to throw out the case. There was enough evidence for a jury to find a cane would help the guard do his job, and the request to use a cane was “a plausible accommodation” whose costs were negligible, it said.

Campus security guards were only the “eyes and ears” of police and weren’t required to conduct foot chases, the court pointed out.

Cite: Schroeder v. Suffolk County Community College.

Did the court make the right call? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

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  • Stunned

    It boggles my mind that a simple request to use a cane would be taken that far. Is it that the administration percieves the usage of the cane would hinder his ability to work or for people to feel unsafe by seeing it. As they think the guard would not be able to run after anyone. I don’t get what the real issue is.

  • campuscop

    Not knowing what the duties of this “security guard” require, I would think that needing a cane to get around is going to severly effect the guard’s ability to travel about the campus. Security is needed sometimes in emergency situations and this may require a mobile response. I’m not sure that a person needing a cane could do so in an emergency. If the job only requires getting around to secure doors, etc. and not responding to emergencies, then this would be a different situation. If he was injured on the job, then the campus should find another position for him, without negatively affecting his salary.

  • Eric

    “eyes and ears”

    That cinches it right there.

    Of course, on our campus, security people are too over-weight to even chase a…well, enough said.

  • Ruth

    The school should be ashamed to deny use of the cane. This is definitely discrimination towards ADA laws.

  • Martha

    Obviously the college did not have a job description written in a way to support the physical requirements of the job (assuming there are any besides using the eyes and ears!). It is embarrassing for the college to have one in a visible role of protection so obviously incapable of offering any kind of protection so I don’t really blame the administration for not supporting the use of a cane. Like the others commenting here, the security guards at our institution don’t provide a presence that makes us feel safe. Our guards are too busy taking their smokes breaks and scarfing down burgers and fries to chase anyone anyway.

  • Allie

    Please do not charge all Morris Brown students because of one ungrateful graduate.

  • TR

    I teach courses to prepare students to be rehabilitation counselors and have used a cane in the past. The guy has been doing the job without a cane for 4 years post accident, and feels that he can to it better if his foot is not overstressed. Personally, with my cane, I felt more prepared in cases of an emertency. He could use the cane as a protective weapon and trip a running suspect with it. With his injured foot not getting worn out from walking on it, he could be more able to use it for short bursts of running than if he did not have it. This is definately a reasonable request. The alternative is to retire the secusity cop on disability–which will cost the organization more in the long run. Also, there are MANY security duties that require sitting–an option that needs to be considered.


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