In a 31-page lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Sarkisian alleged that the school discriminated against his alcoholism when it did not allow him “time off to get help for his disability.”
Sarkisian, 41, was fired on Oct. 12 after taking an indefinite leave of absence. Sarkisian left the Trojans to seek alcohol treatment.
In the complaint, Sarkisian claims that he has finished treatment and is ready to return to the sidelines.
His attorney told TMZ Sports that “alcoholism is a recognized disability under California law,” and alleged USC broke the law by firing someone because of a disability.
“Much of what is stated in the lawsuit filed today by Steve Sarkisian is patently untrue,” USC’s general counsel, Carol Mauch Amir, said in a statement. “While the university does not as a matter of practice comment on personnel matters or litigation, the record will show that Mr. Sarkisian repeatedly denied to university officials that he had a problem with alcohol, never asked for time off to get help, and resisted university efforts to provide him with help. The university made clear in writing that further incidents would result in termination, as it did. We are profoundly disappointed in how Mr. Sarkisian has mischaracterized the facts and we intend to defend these claims vigorously.”
Sarkisian had issues with alcohol dating back to his time at Washington, according to multiple reports in the wake of his firing. In August, after he appeared to be intoxicated at a fundraising event, Sarkisian told reporters he would seek treatment for his alcohol consumption, though he said he did not have a problem.
Clay Helton, who took over on an interim basis for Sarkisian after his firing, was named permanent head coach of the Trojans on Nov. 30.