Tuesday, May 10, 2011

7th Circuit Issues ADA Decision Under "Regarded as Disabled" Provision

District court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendant against plaintiff's Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) REVERSED and remanded. In a case issued today out of the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, a plaintiff, Darrell Miller, filed a claim under the ADA's "regarded as disabled" provision against his former employer, Illinois Department of Transportation, stemming from his fear of heights though he had not been formally diagnosed with acrophobia.

Miller was involved in a work task that caused him to have a panic attack which then prompted the employer to order sick leave and a fitness-for-duty examination where Miller was formally diagnosed with acrophobia and provided with certain work restrictions. However, the employer treated Miller as if he had more restrictive work requirements and Miller then filed a grievance protesting the restrictions and obtained two independent evaluations which concluded Miller could perform his previous job with the same accommodations he had in the past. Miller's accommodations were denied, he returned to work, made some less-than-wise comments about a female coworker and was fired shortly thereafter for the comments.

On review, the 7th Circuit overturned the lower court on all counts and remanded the matter back for further proceedings. The case is Miller v. IDOT, No. 09-3143, May 10, 2011.

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