Bailiffs in their 80s lose appeal over dismissal


DETROIT — The Michigan appeals court has rejected claims of discrimination by two men in their 80s who were removed as bailiffs at a Detroit court because of their health.

Thornton Jackson Jr. and Jeremiah Weatherly worked for decades at 36th District Court, delivering court documents and overseeing evictions, among other duties. Surprisingly, they had lifetime appointments until the Legislature changed state law in 2015 and allowed Detroit bailiffs to be dismissed if they couldn't perform “essential functions.”

Jackson and Weatherly were ruled out after physical exams. Jackson needed a portable oxygen tank while on the job and used a wheelchair. Weatherly had trouble standing during the exam and his vision was limited.

The appeals court said Jackson and Weatherly presented no evidence that age was the key factor in their dismissals. Jackson died during the appeal.

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