SFPD Fires Dyslexic Cop, Who Sues City for Discrimination

Being both dyslexic and mayor of San Francisco is apparently no biggie. But according to a civil suit recently filed in San Francisco Superior Court, the city's police department may be a different story.

Former officer Joseph Ratti, who says he was fired because he is dyslexic, is suing the city for employment discrimination, wrongful termination, and harassment, among other things.
He was hired by the SFPD on May 19, 2008, according to the lawsuit, and completed San Francisco police academy in December 2008. Although he requested that he be given extra time to complete his reports, Sergeant Michael Sullivan, the Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator of the SFPD, denied the request, according to the suit.

Apparently, the SFPD's reluctance to give Ratti special treatment didn't end there.

When entering Field Training Phase, Ratti again requested special consideration for his dyslexia, and was again denied. Not only that, he says he was told to keep his disability a secret. He received constant criticism from his Field Training Officers, according to the suit, and scored low on his reports.

Eventually, Ratti hired high-powered attorney and former supervisor Angela Alioto, who sent a letter to SFPD human resources on March 24, 2009, asking for reasonable accommodation of Ratti's disability. On April 3, the SFPD terminated his employment.

Sergeant Wilfred Williams, an SFPD spokesman, said he is not at liberty to discuss personnel matters or anything specific to the Ratti case. But he did say that the city handles requests for reasonable accommodation regarding dyslexia "on a case-by-case basis." 

Ratti's lawsuit begs to differ. "No one with dyslexia will get through the FTO program," SFPD Lieutenant Michael Silverman allegedly told Ratti. "The department does not want any officers with dyslexia in it."
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