Monday, February 20, 2012

4th Circuit Holds Employee Not Disabled Under ADA Because Able to Work 40 Hour Work Week

Plaintiff sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) alleging that he had been discriminated against after his employer failed to accommodate his impairment which disabled him from working more than eight hours per day and rotate day/night shifts.  The Defendant-employer moved for summary judgment arguing that since the plaintiff was physically able to work a normal forty hour work week and had not demonstrated that his impairments significantly restricted the class of jobs or a broad range of jobs available to him, he could not establish that he had a "substantial" limitation upon which to base a claim of disability under the ADA.  The lower court granted summary judgment in favor of the Defendant-employer and the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit AFFIRMED.

In affirming the lower court, the 4th Circuit held that because the plaintiff could still work a regular 40-hour week and was only unable to work at this particular employer's job site due to their change in scheduling that he was not a qualifying individual with a disability as that term has been defined under the ADA.  In the context of the ability to work, the plaintiff must show that the impairment "significantly restricted . . . the ability to perform either a class of jobs or a broad range of jobs in various classes as compared to the average person having comparable training, skills and abilities." 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(j)(3). Further, the "inability to perform a single, particular job does not constitute a substantial limitation in the major life activity of working."  The court further noted that an employee will not be considered disabled if they cannot perform overtime work but can work at least 40 hours per week.


  1. Hi Randy, I just "Liked" your post on Facebook, although I don't like the legal decision! This is a great blog, and I find your posts and summaries helpful. Thanks, and hope all is well.


  2. Thanks, Mike. It's interesting how many decisions like this adverse to employees are coming out even with the enactment of the ADAAA. We may need to re-think our strategy as attorneys on how to better make these claims in court.