The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a lawsuit against Lake County, Indiana and the Lake County Sheriff, for discrimination against a former employee who was disabled on the job.

Thomas Ostrowski is a former correctional officer and police officer of the Lake County Sheriff Department. Mr. Ostrowski was forced to retire following a line-of-duty incident which left him disabled. Since his forced retirement in 2003, Mr. Ostrowski has received payments in accordance with the pension plan established by the Lake County Sheriff. However, Mr. Ostrowski is not receiving a cost-of-living increase in his pension payments, which non-disabled retirees and surviving spouses do receive.

There is no rational basis for this disparate treatment, and the refusal to provide him with any cost-of-living increase in his pension payments violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. It also represents disability-based discrimination in violation of Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Finally, the failure to provide any cost of living increase in Mr. Ostrowski’s pension payments violates Indiana Code § 36-8-10-15, which requires that these payments be in a “reasonable amount[].” 
 

 

Date filed

November 6, 2018

Court

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA HAMMOND DIVISION

Case number

1:18-cv-03482-RLY-DML

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