CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) A former Wyoming Air National Guard officer is suing top Guard officers, saying he was discriminated against because of his age and disability.
Michael James Sara of Cheyenne filed the lawsuit June 29 in Laramie County District Court.
The lawsuit says the actions and inaction of Guard leaders contributed and caused his mental health problems and made him unable to continue functioning in the Air Guard.
Guard spokesman Col. Gerry Luce declined comment on the lawsuit.
At this time, we must maintain our policy of not commenting on pending or ongoing litigation, he said in a statement.
The lawsuit seeks a jury trial. It does not name specific monetary damages.
Sara was a member of the Wyoming Guard from Nov. 29, 1965, to July 4, 1998. He worked full-time in both a civilian and military status, the lawsuit says.
He was a lieutenant colonel when he was discharged from the Air Guard for medical reasons.
He encountered harassment, intimidation, humiliation and mental abuse during his last few years with the Air Guard, the lawsuit says. That contributed to depression with agitation and post-traumatic stress disorder, it said.
As a result of a hostile work environment, he suffered a mental breakdown and major depression, the lawsuit says.
It led to his discharge from his civil job and National Guard position, it says.
The civil lawsuit names as defendants Adjutant Gen. Edward Boenisch, Wing Commander Robert D. Rodekohr and Guard members Richard P. Ames and Harold S. Smith. The final two are listed as supervisors.
All are named as defendants in their capacity as members of the Air Guard.
When Sara worked for Rodekohr from 1994 to 1996, the wing commander made age discrimination remarks, the lawsuit says.
Ames, who supervised him from 1997 to 1998, reduced Saras civilian performance appraisals due to his mental health, the lawsuit says. Ames also required Sara to undergo a mental health evaluation without notifying him of his rights, it says.
Ames and Boenisch both denied Sara his right to a disability evaluation system within the Guard, the lawsuit says.
Boenisch created a hostile work environment by requiring him to take college classes or lose his job despite his age and Guard tenure, the lawsuit says.
Supervisor Smith tried to discredit and undermine Saras authority and made discriminatory remarks about Saras mental health, the lawsuit says.
Instead of providing accommodations for his condition, Guard supervisors used it as the basis for discharge, the lawsuit says.
The defendants failed to comply with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the lawsuit says.
Saras lawsuit is another in a series of lawsuits filed against the Guard in recent years. They include:
ÝLt. Vivian Penaks suit alleging wrongful termination.
ÝLt. Col. Roger Nybergs action alleging wrongful termination.
ÝA lawsuit against Lori Eniver by Nyberg and Penak for allegedly aiding their wrongful termination.
ÝLawsuits by Brig. Gen. Barbara Jenenne Nelson and Brig. Gen. Howard Art Dillon for improper firing by Gov. Jim Geringer based on their state of residency.
ÝA lawsuit by Col. Joseph Michaels, who said he deserved promotion because he was a Wyoming resident and was passed over for a person from Colorado instead.
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