Malais v. Los Angeles City Fire Dep’t, 2007 WL 1229335 (Cal. Ct. App. 2007)

Gregory Malais, a Captain II with the Los Angeles City Fire Department, sued the Department for disability discrimination in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act when he was given a special-duty assignment following the partial amputation of one of his legs. Captains on special-duty assignment receive the same pay and promotional opportunities as those who are on platoon duty (where Malais was before the amputation). The Department had refused to assign Malais to platoon duty because it believed there was an unacceptable risk to Malais, other firefighters and the public from his working platoon duty with a prosthetic leg. The Court of Appeal affirmed summary judgment in favor of the Department, concluding that Malais did not suffer an adverse employment action by being limited to special-duty assignments. Cf. Frank v. County of Los Angeles, 2007 WL 1082287 (Cal. Ct. App. 2007) (jury verdict in favor of minority officers of the Los Angeles County Police is reversed where plaintiffs failed to establish that pay disparity with white officers of the sheriff’s department was the product of racial discrimination).