Monday, April 22, 2013

CT District Court Holds an Employee's Being Called "Stupid" Not Enough to Give Rise to "Regarded As" Disability

An employee at a theme park who had no formal diagnosis for the mental retardation and learning disabilities sued his employer for, amongst several other counts, disability discrimination on both the actual and regarded as grounds but a federal district court in Connecticut granted summary judgment in favor of the employer holding that, on the actually-disabled route, “[s]elf-serving testimony, without more, is insufficient to create a material issue of fact…”  On the regarded as route, the court held a reasonable jury could not find that calling someone “stupid” is not evidence that the speaker perceived that person to be substantially limited in any major life activity.

These cases are never easy as employees often feel like their rights are being violated when they're being treated with hostility and being called names like "stupid," and rightfully so.  However, even with the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA), even though it has made it easier for plaintiff's to show a disability, cases like these show the difficulties plaintiff's still face in proving discrimination and hostile environments.  

The case is Adams v. Festival Fun Parks (d/b/a Lake Compounce Theme Park), Case No. 11CV427.


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