Case Law Alerts
Plaintiff’s stomach problem, which caused him to miss two weeks of work, was not a disability pursuant to the ADA.
The court granted the employer’s motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s disability discrimination claim pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, finding that the impairment pled—a stomach problem—did not constitute a disability pursuant to the ADA. The plaintiff asserted that he was required to miss work between March 12, 2015, and March 23, 2015, due to “a stomach problem.” The plaintiff then obtained a doctor’s note, requested to use his accrued sick leave for his time out of the office and attempted to return to work. The employer, however, never put the plaintiff back on the schedule because he failed to submit FMLA paperwork from his physician, which he did not believe was necessary because he was not eligible for FMLA at the time (as he had been working for the company for less than one year). Following his separation, he filed a lawsuit alleging that, among other things, the company engaged in disability discrimination by terminating his employment and retaliated against him for attempting to take medical leave, which he asserted was a reasonable accommodation pursuant to the ADA. Ultimately, the court determined that the plaintiff’s “stomach problem” was not a disability pursuant to the ADA, noting that there was nothing in the complaint suggesting that “[t]he ‘stomach problem’ was anything other than a one-time occurrence with a limited recovery period,” or that any limitations he had lasted beyond the two-week period he was out of work. As a result, the court concluded that the “[p]laintiff’s stomach problem is the very definition of a temporary, non-chronic impairment of short duration” and, therefore, could not support a disability under the ADA. However, the court denied the employer’s motion to dismiss as to the plaintiff’s ADA retaliation claim, noting that, “[u]nlike a claim for discrimination under the ADA, an ADA retaliation claim based upon an employee having requested an accommodation does not require that a plaintiff show that he or she is ‘disabled’ within the meaning of the ADA and, [r]ather, a plaintiff need only show that she had a ‘reasonable, good faith belief that she was entitled to request the reasonable accommodation she requested.’”
Case Law Alerts, 3rd Quarter, July 2017
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