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Supreme Court overturns decision dismissing woman's handicap discrimination claim

A disabled person, Shirley Vinson, sued her employer, ABN Amro, after it terminated her employment.  She alleged that the employer terminated her after eliminating its manual dialing service telephones and incorporated a new phone system with auto dialing that could not be accessed from outside the office. Vinson claimed that the employer made this change for the express purpose of eliminating her employment, since she typically accessed the phone system manually from home.  The Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of Vinson's claim.  Judge Henry Saad and two others concluded that she had not established a prima facie case of discrimination.

On appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court, the Court unanimously  ruled that Judge Saad's panel had made several errors in dismissing Vinson's claim.  It held that she had proved a  rebuttable claim of discrimination given the employer's stated intention to replace her with an able-bodied individual.  The high court also pointed out that Saad's panel erred in its conclusion that Vinson had not plead a claim for reasonable accommodation.  In its two paragraph decision, the high court also ruled that the Court of Appeals erred by concluding that Vinson had not adequately supported her claim that ABN Amro's purported reason for discharging her was a mere pretext. 

It is satsifying to see the high Court acknowledge a series of errors by a consistently biased judge.

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