A former Downtown San Francisco Marriott concierge has been awarded a $20 million settlement after a jury ruled the hotel failed to make reasonable workplace accommodations for his medical condition.
Daniel Callahan, an almost 30-year veteran concierge at the San Francisco Marquis Marriott, was awarded $5 million in damages for emotional distress, pain and suffering—plus $15 million in punitive damages, according to his lawyers.
“This intelligent, diligent and hard-working jury saw through Marriott’s bogus attacks on Mr. Callahan, who was a great employee for decades,” said his lead lawyer, David deRubertis.
Callahan’s lawyers argued that Marriott had previously accommodated Callahan for three years after he experienced a spinal cord injury in 2014, rendering him disabled and unable to move around freely without a cane and prosthetic device.
Then, in 2019, Marriott spent $150 million on renovating the 780 Mission St. hotel and installed a new workstation for concierges that Callahan’s lawyers argued didn’t provide enough room to sit while working.
Callahan spent the next eight months trying to get the hotel to modify the area with his doctors sending multiple notes to Marriott spelling out his physical limitations and why he needed the accommodations, his lawyers said.
Doctors eventually determined Callahan was no longer medically cleared to return to work in September 2019. Doctors blamed the ongoing pain caused by his inability to alternate from sitting to standing.
“When companies follow the accommodation laws, good workers are able to remain employed and productive despite their disabilities,” deRubertis said in a press release. “But when companies refuse to accommodate disabled workers, good and loyal employees with disabilities like Dan Callahan are pushed out of the workforce to never return.”
Marriott did not respond to a request for comment.
Joel Umanzor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org