Former USC head coach accuses school of a wrongful termination

Steve Sarkisian, former football head coach of the University of Southern California, has filed a lawsuit against the school. He alleges that when he was having a difficult time in his life, the school did not try to assist him and fired him instead. Sarkisian believes that his wrongful termination was based on disability discrimination because he was suffering with alcoholism and was not given assistance.

Sarkisian alleges he was under large amounts of pressure in his position that was difficult for him to handle. He suffered with alcoholism, and the stress of his job only seemed to compound his dependency. According to his complaint, Sarkisian was considered disabled under federal law because of his dependency. He claims that USC did not try to help him and provide him a reasonable accommodation so that he could take time away from work to receive treatment and then return. Additionally, Sarkisian claims USC did not give him all the money he was owed in his contract.

USC has a completely different story and maintains that Sarkisian continually denied that he had an alcohol problem. The university claims that he was not receptive to the help that was offered to him and he did not ask for time off to be treated. USC purportedly warned the former coach in writing that if there were any more incidents, he would be fired, and the school went through with its threats.

When Sarkisian was fired through email, he was apparently flying to be admitted into an alcohol treatment center. Now, he claims that he is sober and ready to coach again, but USC has taken everything away from him. Sarkisian's wrongful termination complaint accuses USC of not providing him with a reasonable accommodation for his disability under California law. He is seeking $12.6 million for his lawsuit, but, according to his lawyer, he will be asking for more than $30 million.

Source: ESPN, "Steve Sarkisian files wrongful termination lawsuit against USC", Dec. 7, 2015

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