Former USC head coach Steve Sarkisian is suing the school.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Sarkisian filed a wrongfull termination lawsuit Monday on the basis that USC fired him instead of allowing him to seek treatment. Sarkisian was fired on Oct. 12 – a day after he took a leave of absence to pursue treatment for issues with alcohol.
The 31-page suit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court and says Sarkisian has completed treatment.
From the LA Times:
Filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the 31-page complaint said USC didn't give Sarkisian the "reasonable accommodation" of allowing "time off to get help for his disability."
The lawsuit alleges breach of contract, discrimination on the basis of disability and invasion of privacy.
According to ESPN, Sarkisian was headed to a rehabilitation center when he was “fired via email by athletic director Pat Haden.” The lawsuit also characterizes Sarkisian’s alcoholism as a “disability.”
"Under the circumstances of this case, California law required USC to make reasonable accommodation of giving Steve Sarkisian time off to get help for his disability and then return to his job," the lawsuit says. "Instead, USC ignored both its obligations under California law and the commitments it made to Steve Sarkisian."
Alan Loewinsohn, Sarkisian’s attorney, told TMZ that alcoholism is “a recognized disability under California law.”
“Firing somebody because of that disability is against the law,” he said.
The lawsuit also says that USC violated Sarkisian’s contract by refusing to pay the rest of the money he is owed – at least $12.6 million.
In August, Sarkisian had an incident at a USC booster event where he appeared to be intoxicated. Sarkisian, who used inappropriate language while addressing those attending the event, later apologized and said he mixed alcohol and medication.
The lawsuit says Sarkisian drank two beers earlier in the evening and had taken “two different medications that had been prescribed to him for anxiety.”
Now, the complaint says, Sarkisian has completed treatment is ready to resume his coaching career.
Sarkisian compiled a 12-6 record during his brief time at USC. He previously was the head coach at Washington from 2009-2013.
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