Firing a recovering prescription drug addict will cost Westminster College nearly $600,000, after a federal judge concluded the private Salt Lake City school acted unlawfully toward its long-time mailroom supervisor.
In May, a federal jury decided William Tracy Fowler, who had become hooked on prescription medications following back surgery, was entitled to protection under the American With Disabilities Act. The 1990 law prohibits employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of a disability.
This week, Judge David Nuffer set the amount of the award. He agreed that the college not only discriminated against Fowler, but also retaliated against him after he complained of being "harassed" following his return to work from a substance abuse rehabilitation program in April 2005.
Westminster officials declined to be interviewed.