Florida Bar Slammed With Discrimination Lawsuit

Good news for Kafka fans: Turns out, the group of lawyers charged with policing the rest of Florida's 90,000 lawyers can get sued (by even more lawyers), just like the rest of us.

William Luongo, a local accountant formerly employed by the Florida Bar, claims that the organization harassed and ultimately fired him -- because of his diagnosed depression and anxiety.

Luongo, who worked for 14 years as a forensic auditor for the bar, says his boss found disease-related reasons to criticize his work, according to a lawsuit recently filed in the Broward County Civil Court.

A spokeswoman for the bar declined to respond to Luongo's allegation, saying that the organization does not comment on pending litigation.

Here's how Luongo breaks it down: He says that his episodic major depression, dysthymia, and generalized anxiety disorder occasionally prevent him from focusing at work -- but that he would take his assignments home with him and work on the weekends so that he always kept up with his quota and quality -- even when the caseload increased. Luongo was charged with investigating and reviewing allegations of lawyer misconduct.

Luongo says that his boss knew about these conditions because she had been friends with him for ten years and also happened to be married to his doctor, according to the filing.

Luongo, however, experienced a severe episode of major depression in 2007 after divorcing his wife and enduring his daughter's illness. He says that his boss continued to give him flak about being unproductive but that his efficiency was on par with that of other bar accountants. He was put on probation, according to the filing. Luongo eventually took medical leave but was unexpectedly terminated after he returned to work.

Luongo wants the bar to pay up -- he wants back wages and additional cash for emotional distress.

Check back with the Pulp for updates.

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Victoria Bekiempis