Failure to document work restrictions legitimizes inactive status
Case name: Jefferson v. MillerCoors, LLC, No. 4:09-CV-363-A (N.D. Tex. 07/02/10).
Ruling: The U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas granted summary judgment to a brewery on an employee's claims of discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and Title VII. It also denied the employee's motion for continuance.
What it means: An employee's failure to submit required documentation about his work restrictions may permit the conclusion that there was a nondiscriminatory reason for an adverse employment action taken against the employee.
Summary: A brewery employee was injured on the job, resulting in a four-month absence from work. When he returned to work, the brewery granted several permanent work restrictions based on his chiropractor's report. Later, due to a change in policy, the brewery required updated documentation from all employees with permanent restrictions. The employee failed to provide the documentation and was eventually placed on inactive status. He sued, alleging violations of the ADA of 1990. The court granted summary judgment to the brewery, holding that the employee's failure to submit the required documentation was a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for directing the employee not to report to work.
The court explained that the employee did not make out a showing of pretext under the ADA because he did not assert any facts to support that claim. The employee also did not show that a similarly situated employee was treated more favorably by being allowed to remain on the job.
The court also denied the employee's motion for continuance, explaining that he did not show why he was unable to present evidence creating a genuine issue of fact or how a continuance would enable him to present such evidence.
The court also granted summary judgment to the brewery on the employee's ADEA and Title VII claims.
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September 23, 2010
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