Disability Discrimination Case Asserted By Bank Teller With Epilepsy

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan ruled that a part-time bank teller raised triable issues of disparate treatment and failure to accommodate under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The ADA prohibits discrimination against “qualified individuals with a disability” in the terms and conditions of employment. A qualified disability is any medical, physiological, or psychiatric condition that substantially limits a major life activity. The ADA provides that where a person is a “qualified individual with a disability,” his or her employer must make an effort to reasonably accommodate the disability.

Here, the court determined that the woman’s epilepsy constituted a disability covered by the ADA. Although her medication controlled the amount of seizures she had, they were not eliminated. However, despite her requests for a later start time to allow for more sleep and reduce the frequency of her seizures, the bank refused to allow these changes.

As a result, the court determined that a her claims under the ADA were sufficient to withstand summary judgment, reasoning that a reasonable jury could find that the woman was disabled and that the bank failed to provide the reasonable accommodations.

The court also found that the woman provided evidence that the bank’s alleged reason for firing her – excessive absenteeism – was a pretext for bias. As such, she was allowed to proceed with her claims.

If you believe you or a loved one has been a discriminated against based on a disability, contact the Georgia law firm of Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP. Dedicated to protecting worker’s rights, we can answer your questions and fight against disability discrimination in the workplace.