Court rules that "intermittent" flares of back injury do not entitle worker to protection of disability discrimination statute
Eric Jones filed a lawsuit arguing that he was illegally fired in violation of the Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act. He suffered flare-ups of a back problem every four months or so, apparently, and was limited to working three days per week. After his supervisor asked how long it would be before Jones could work five days, Jones concluded that his termination of employment was a result of the employer's perception that Jones was "disabled."
While an employee cannot be fired in retaliation for filing a workers compensation case, the Court of Appeals held that it is not illegal for an employer to fire an employee who may be considering such a claim. Further, it held that someone like Jones who suffers from intermittent back pain that does not "substantially limit one or more of the major life activities" is not entitled to protection as a "disabled" person, provided the employer does not "perceive" that the worker is disabled and act illegally.