Systems engineer Terry Williams is taking an Annapolis-based tech firm to court, charging in a lawsuit that the company fired him because he suffered from sleep disorders and other maladies and had sought permission to take brief naps, as needed, during the work day.
Williams, 40, alleges that the company, TeleCommunication Systems, violated his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Williams says that in October 2002, 14 months after he was hired to work in TCS's Annapolis headquarters, he was diagnosed with a cluster of illnesses including narcolepsy, sleep apnea and depression.
Williams took medical leave that November and, when doctors decided he could return to work several months later, he sought certain accommodations from TCS. Among them, according to his lawyer, Beth Pepper of Baltimore, was that he be permitted "to take one or two short, 15- to 20-minute naps a day as needed."
The company "refused to discuss" possible accommodations, the lawsuit says. Williams returned to work anyway, in March 2003, and then was "terminated" in June of that year, the complaint says.
Pepper said people who suffer from less visible disabilities such as sleep disorders may in some respects be more vulnerable to employment discrimination than employees who are blind or who use a wheelchair. "It's much more difficult, I think, when it involves the invisible disabilities, and that is certainly an issue that the courts need to address and that employers need to be sensitive to," Pepper said.
Williams has since moved to Godwin, N.C., where he is seeking work, Pepper said. A spokeswoman for TCS said the company had no comment.
Stick 'Em Up
Anne Arundel County police were called to a Victoria's Secret store at Westfield Shoppingtown Annapolis on Friday for an unusual case of shoplifting. The store reported that a group of four thieves had made off with a load of push-up bras, worth up to $2,940.
The police report said an employee at the lingerie boutique noticed four people -- two men and two women -- "acting suspiciously and leaving in a hurry together" in the mid-afternoon.
The employee did not see the four take anything. But about three hours later, around 6 p.m., she was looking for another item and noticed that the bras were gone. The thieves may have gotten away with about 70 bras, each worth about $42, the report said.
The only specific description available was that one of the women had blond hair and appeared to be about 40, police said. A police spokeswoman said she had not heard the case had been closed.
A Victoria's Secret spokesman said that the store was still trying to determine how much had been stolen, and that the total number of bras stolen might turn out to be less than that listed in the police report.
Dedicated Director Retires
After 43 years of working in social services, including 24 years in Anne Arundel County, one of the state's most revered civil servants is retiring.
Edward R. Bloom became the director of the county's department of social services in 1980. Before that he was a case worker who worked his way up to deputy director in Montgomery County.
In a statement, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich said: "Ed's years in state service is an excellent example of dedication to his staff, to the work he was charged to do and to the countless children and families that have been served under his watch."
Staff writer Christian Davenport contributed to this article.