You Weren’t Fired, You Quit!

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
05/05/2016
A United States District Court in New Jersey recently denied an employer’s motion for summary judgment where the employer argued that the employee voluntarily resigned and, therefore, that there was no adverse employment action.  Taha v. TBC Corp., No. 14-03377 (D.N.J. April 26, 2016). David Taha worked as a store manager for National Tire & Battery (NTB) in New Jersey.  Years before, he had been diagnosed with an arthritic condition.  Taha...
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Appellate Court Rules That Obesity is Not a Disability Under the ADA

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
04/08/2016
It’s no secret that there is an obesity epidemic in America.  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 1 in 3 adults (78.6 million total) are now obese.  In addition to its adverse effects on health and lifestyle, obesity also imposes tremendous financial costs: it is estimated that the average obese person incurs $1,429 more in medical costs each year than those who are of “normal” weight (BMI between 18-24.9), with a...
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Verizon Can’t Place State Retaliatory Discharge Claim on Hold

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
03/11/2016
The United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia recently ruled that a Verizon employee who alleged his employer denied him leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and then fired him can pursue his state law claim for retaliatory discharge. In Vandevander v. Verizon Wireless, LLC, No. 3: 15-cv-11540 (S.D.W.Va., March 7, 2016), the federal district court denied Verizon’s motion to dismiss, finding that...
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Fourth Circuit Applies More Stringent "But For" Standard in ADA Cases

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
03/09/2016
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has ruled that a plaintiff asserting a disability discrimination claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") must show that her disability was the “but for” cause of her termination. Gentry v. East West Partners Club Mgmt. Co., Inc., No. 14-2382 (4th Cir., March 4, 2016). In upholding a “but for” jury instruction, the Fourth Circuit held that this heightened causation...
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Court Dismisses Sleeping Employee's Disability Discrimination Claim

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
02/04/2016
An airline employee who was terminated after being observed sleeping in a company breakroom during his shift may not bring a disability discrimination claim. Rejecting the employee’s argument that his nap was actually a “dissociative state” stemming from an undisclosed anxiety disorder, the court refused to let his claims get off the ground. Paolino v. U.S. Airways, Inc., No. cv-14-01672-PHX-NVW (D. Ariz. Jan. 26, 2016). Jonathan Paolino was...
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End Of The Road For AutoZone Worker, Says Seventh Circuit

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
01/06/2016
In a recent disability discrimination case, the Seventh Circuit ruled that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) is not entitled to a new trial against AutoZone because it failed to prove that the employee it represented was qualified for her job.  EEOC v. AutoZone, Inc., 7th Cir., No. 15-1753 (January 4, 2016).  Affirming a jury verdict in favor of AutoZone, the Court found that there was sufficient evidence to find that the...
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Former USC Coach Throws the Challenge Flag After Getting Fired for Drinking

Clifford Geiger
Clifford Geiger
12/10/2015
Earlier this week, former University of Southern California (USC) Head Football Coach Steve Sarkisian filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against his former employer. Sarkisian’s complaint alleges violations of California law, including a failure to accommodate his alcoholism. Sarkisian, who is seeking at least the $12.5 million left on his contract, asserts that USC “kicked him to the curb” by firing him instead of allowing him time off to...
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Another Spin on ADAAA Accommodations: Employee May Be Entitled to Swivel Chair

Bernadette Hunton
Bernadette Hunton
11/25/2015
AA Maryland federal court ruled that the United States Postal Service may be required to provide a disabled employee with a swivel chair to alleviate neck and back pain, even though the employer had already modified job duties and provided the employee with special equipment.   Dones v. Brennan, No. 8:12-cv-03369 (D. Md. 11/23/15). In this case, Plaintiff Dones worked as a mail processor for the United States Postal Service (USPS) where he sorted...
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Court Gives Frostbite Disability Claim The Cold Shoulder

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
11/02/2015
In case you need another reason to bundle up this winter, the Third Circuit recently affirmed a decision to dismiss a truck driver’s claim that his frostbite constitutes a protected disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Wilson v. Iron Tiger Logistics, Inc., No. 14-4470 (3d Cir., Oct. 28, 2015). The driver, Robert Wilson, experienced frostbite on several fingers while unloading trucks in approximately -25 degree weather in...
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Court Puts "Difficulty Sleeping" Disability Claim to Rest

This past weekend, I became a proud first-time father of a beautiful baby girl! Among the many helpful and prescient pieces of advice my wife Mikah and I received from others during her pregnancy were variations on the theme of, “Get sleep while you can.” Words of wisdom, indeed. Recently, however, a college professor argued that his difficulty in getting a restful night’s sleep was not only an inconvenience but one that rendered him disabled...
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