Tuesday, October 25, 2005

ADA - employment - regarded as having a disability

Eshelman v. Agere Systems, Inc. - ED Pa. - October 19, 2005


The court rejected the defendant's post-trial motion to overturn a jury verdict for plaintiff, whom it found that defendant had "regarded as disabled" under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Plaintiff established that she is an "qualified individual with a disability," 42 USC 12112(a), i.e., a person who with or w/o a reasonable accommodation can perform the essential functions of the job that she holds or wants.

A "disability" is defined as either a) physical/mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, or b) a record of such impairment, or c) being regarded as having such an impairment.

A person is "regarded as having a disability if a) she has an impairment that doesn't limit any major life function, but is treated by the employer as if it does; b) she has an impairment that does limit her, but only as a result of the attitude of others; or c) has no impairment but is treated as having a substantially limiting impairment., 29 CFR 1630.2(1).

Plaintiff prevailed because she showed that she was discriminated against by her employer, who believed that she was unable to work in a particular class or broad range of jobs, as required in the definition of disability.

Donald Marritz
MidPenn Legal Services