First Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment For Employer In Disability Case Brought Under The Americans With Disabilities Act And Chapter 151B
Schwartz Hannum successfully represented an employer in a lawsuit filed by a former sales manager alleging disability discrimination under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 151B (“Chapter 151B”) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Sara Goldsmith Schwartz and Jessica L. Herbster, successfully argued that the employee was discharged for failing to obtain a license required for his job despite having ample notice that his employment would be terminated if he failed to obtain the license. On September 26, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed summary judgment for the employer. The First Circuit held that the employee’s request was not reasonable because it came too late after he knew he would be terminated and after he failed to perform an essential function of the job. The Court also found that the employee could not show that he would have been able to pass the exam if provided another opportunity to take it. For these reasons, the Court held that the employee’s request for an accommodation was not reasonable and the former employer was entitled to summary judgment on appellant’s failure to accommodate claim. The Court also denied the employee’s claim that the former employer failed to engage in an interactive process because, among other reasons, the employee presented no evidence that such a process would have uncovered an accommodation that would have enabled him to perform the essential functions of his job. Sara Goldsmith Schwartz and Jessica L. Herbster were attorneys for the employer.