Orlando police officer terminated after injury

Elizabeth Waba-Daniels is latest female officer to be cut from force

Elizabeth Waba-Daniels (News 6)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Veteran Orlando police officer Elizabeth Waba-Daniels received a formal letter of termination Thursday morning following a meeting with OPD brass stemming from a fall from a police horse that left her on light duty since May 2018.

Daniel’s attorney, Jeff Appel, told News 6 the officer’s injury has become the foundation for an “ad hoc application of OPD’s accommodation of officers injured in the line of duty.”

Appel is convinced the termination violates the American’s with Disabilities Act.

Appel’s partner, Joe Cline, said his client was told to return her police property.

Daniels has remained silent because of a gag order issued by the department but is expected to comment now that she has been relieved of duty.

According to a letter obtained by News 6, she was granted an alternative duty assignment and received full salary and benefits since last year.

The letter reads in part: “At no time have you requested or indicated a willingness to return to full duty.”

The letter cites OPD policy that, “Any member in any combination of (alternative duty, sick leave, leave of absence or family leave) for a continuous year or 12 cumulative months out of any 18 month period will be required to return to full duty.”

Daniels has argued that she is not ready to return to full duty.

Appel told News 6 that the law “under Chapter 440, which deals with workers’ compensation injuries, seems to indicate a termination because of a valid claim for compensation is illegal.”

That law states that, "No employer shall discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate, or coerce any employee by reason of such employee’s valid claim for compensation or attempt to claim compensation under the Workers’ Compensation Law.”

The OPD letter indicates that Daniels will be given the option of unpaid leave of absence to avoid termination.

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