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End Discrimination Against People With Disabilities In PA

Organized by: Herbert Brannon

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I began a job with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections in Pittsburgh, PA on January 20, 2015. The job is the Library Assistant at the State Correctional Institution at Pittsburgh (SCIP). The Library Assistant job is responsible for the administrative end of running the inmate library at SCIP. I also supervise the inmate workers in the SCIP library.

I enjoy this job very much and perform it well. I have received many verbal congratulations for a job well done from my supervisor (the librarian), from the Principal of the Education Department (the library falls under the SCIP Education Department), the Deputy Superintendent of Operations and from many of the Corrections Officers at SCIP. I get along very well with both the staff and inmates at SCIP and am always on a friendly basis with everyone. I also have never asked for any special accomodation to be made.

I was sent to the Department of Corrections Training Academy, in Elizabethtown, PA, to begin a two-week training course beginning March 9, 2015. I started the classroom work and was doing well. In accordance with Rule 5.2 of the training academy manual it is required that any disabilities be brought to the attention of the training academy staff. I do have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and I did, as was required, make it known to the training academy staff. Bear in mind that my COPD is well controlled with daily medication.

Upon learning of my disability, the supervisor of the training academy had me removed from class and brought to his office. He told me that, in his words, my disability made me, "a liability to the Department of Corrections". He told me I could not continue with the training and that I was to return to SCIP and that, "your institution and you can work it out". These comments and actions blindsided me. I was doing a good job and now this. I found his remarks to be very biased, not to mention illegal under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

I am currently suspended, with no pay, awaiting a hearing later this month. I have contacted the law firm of Samuel J. Cordes and am working with Attorney Jessica Michael. This money will be used for legal contingency fees, legal expenses and limited living expenses.

I have been doing the job, successfully I might add, since I began with the Department of Corrections. My COPD has not kept me from doing any part of the job. I am confident of winning this case and need your help in raising the $2500 needed for legal fees.

If you can help end discrimination against people with disabilities, please do so. Thank you for your time and assistance.


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Herbert Brannon

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