10-year Henry Ford Hospital employee loses discrimination claim
Janice Gecewicz endured a number of surgeries during her ten-year tenure, and also a number of excused and unexcused absences. She was eligible for termination by her supervisor's accounting of the absences, although Gecewicz disagreed with the supervisor's accounting and believed that the supervisor considered her medically disabled and prone to missing work as a result. When she was fired, she sued arguing that the supervisor had failed to accommodate her medical needs as required by the ADA and FMLA.
Although the trial judge drew all inferences in Gecewicz's favor (including her claim that a disputed absence form had been filed), the judge ruled that she had not proved that Henry Ford "regarded her as having a disability." The lower court held that the comments of her supervisor did not demonstrate a perception of disability, and therefore, Gecewicz was not eligible for protection under the ADA. The Court of Appeals agreed with this analysis, calling the supervisor's statements "isolated" comments and noting that they occurred several years prior to the termination.