Joining similar holdings from several other circuits, the Ninth CircuitLucas Clary 02_web recently held in Mayo v. PCC Structurals, Inc. that a depressed employee who threatened to kill his co-workers and was thereafter fired was not a qualified individual under the ADA.  The court therefore affirmed the district court’s summary judgment on the employee’s disability discrimination claim.

Stress, Depression, and Bullying Lead Employee to Threaten Co-Workers’ Lives

The plaintiff, Timothy Mayo, welded aircraft parts for PCC Structurals.  In 1999, Mayo was diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD).  Despite the diagnosis, he continued working without incident for years.  In 2010, that changed.  Mayo and some other co-workers felt they were being bullied by their supervisor.  Following a co-worker’s complaint and a subsequent meeting to discuss the bullying, Mayo told three different co-workers that he wanted to kill the supervisor.  He told one co-worker that he felt like bringing a shotgun to work and “blowing off” the supervisor and others’ heads.  He told another co-worker that he wanted to “bring a gun down and start shooting people,” explaining that 1:30 p.m. was an optimal time because all of the supervisors would be present.  Pretty scary stuff.

Mayo’s co-workers reported the threats and HR reached out to him.  He told an HR representative that he “couldn’t guarantee” he wouldn’t carry out the threats.  PCC suspended him and called the police, who in turn took Mayo into custody for six days on the basis that he was a threat to himself and others.  After his release, Mayo spent two months on FMLA leave.  His doctor thereafter cleared him to return to work but suggested that he be assigned a different supervisor.  Instead, PCC fired him.


Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Says Employee Who Made Death Threats Against His Co-Workers Could Not Sue His Employer For Disability Discrimination

By:    Duyen T. Nguyen

In Young v. UPS, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 530, a UPS worker sued her employer for sex and race discrimination under Title VII and for disability discrimination under the ADA on the basis of her pregnancy. On January 9, 2013, the Fourth Circuit Appellate Court issued a decision affirming the district court’s grant of summary judgment for the employer.


Continue Reading The Fourth Circuit Court Says Pregnant Employee Not Entitled to Accommodation

By:       Lizbeth V. West, Esq.

Robert v. Board of County Commissioners of Brown County, Kansas, et. al. (10th Cir. Aug. 29, 2012) No. 11-3902

The job description for Robert’s job as a supervisor of felony offenders included 18 “essential functions.”   Some of those included functions like performing drug screenings, ensuring compliance with court orders, testifying in court, and “field work,” which consisted of visiting the homes of individuals who had been released from prison to assist them in their reentry into society. The job required “considerable fieldwork . . . throughout the 22nd Judicial District," "visits in less than desirable environments," and "potentially dangerous situations in field/office contacts."


Continue Reading Is Leave Required As An Accommodation If It Is Unclear If The Employee Will Be Able To Perform The Job In The Near Future?

By:       Scott M. Plamondon

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) thinks so. The EEOC recently posted a letter to its website stating that it may be unlawful for employers to require a job applicant to have obtained a high school diploma if the applicant suffers from a learning disability and has been unable to obtain one. The EEOC’s position represents a significant departure from traditional interpretation by the courts with regard to matters of unintentional discrimination resulting in a disparate impact on certain groups.


Continue Reading Is It Discrimination To Require A High School Diploma?