Jason Servo, an Oregon police officer who was arrested and subsequently fired for driving under the influence, has filed a $6 million lawsuit against the city of Gresham claiming that his firing violated his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The lawsuit alleges that Officer Servo was suffering from alcoholism at the time of the incident and should not have been fired as alcoholism is a recognized disability under the act.
In January 2011, after enjoying dinner and drinks with fellow members of his department, Jason Servo, who was off-duty at the time, got behind the wheel of his un-marked police cruiser and crashed into a ditch. The arresting officer testified that although Servo refused to perform any standardized field sobriety tests, he “was probably one of the top 10 most intoxicated people he had arrested in almost 15 years of drunken-driving investigations.”
Months following the arrest, Servo plead guilty to drunk driving. He enrolled in a diversion program as part of the terms of his plea as well as voluntarily entered into an in-patient drug-and-alcohol treatment center. It was at the treatment center that Servo was officially diagnosed as an alcoholic.
Lawyers for Servo are stating that the department should have made efforts to help accommodate Servo as they would have done for any other officer with a disease or disability. The City and the department, however, are firing back with statements from the executive director with Disability Rights Oregon, “The ADA has provisions in it, across the board, to not require employers to subject other people to unreasonable risk to accommodate a disability.”