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Woman with work restrictions not called back: didn't prove disability discrimination

Joyce King was employed at American Axle and Manufacturing.  After an injury, her doctor placed signficant restrictions on her activities, including a 10 # repetitive weight limit, 20# actual limit, predominant sit-down job with sit/stand option, no prolonged walking, and other restrictions.  She was never recalled to work and filed a lawsuit under the People With Disabilities Civil Rights Act (PWDCRA).  In order to prevail, King needed to prove that she suffered from a disability unrelated to her ability to perform her job duties [or that her employer perceived such a disability] and discrimination based on the disability [or the employer's perception].

King was unable to establish that she had been rejected for any job that was within her work restrictions.  The parties stipulated that she did not meet the definition of "disabled" under the Act, and her employer claimed that her work restrictions precluded her from returning to any of the jobs it had filled after her injury.  Since she could not establish that the employer's "perception" that she was disabled had resulted in a discriminatory decision not to return her to work in a job she was capable of filling, her claim was dismissed.  She needed to establish that she had been rejected for a job that would not violate her work restrictions and had not done that.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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