by Michael Fox
An employee alleged his discharge was because of his epilepsy and because the employer perceived he had a limiting disability, his emotional instability. The Court quickly cut through the first claim, finding that his epilepsy was well enough controlled that before he was terminated he had been returned to a hazardous position on the basis of his doctor's findings and recommendation. Brunke v. The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company (8th Cir. 9/29/03) [pdf].
The second ground got even shorter shrift. In the money quote, the Court said:
Where there is no medical evidence of a mental or psychological disorder, as in this case, an employee does not establish a prima facie case of ADA “regarded-as” disability simply because he or she was disciplined or discharged for failure to get along with co-workers or supervisors. Likewise, the fact that Goodyear told Brunke to seek professional anger-control assistance after one confrontation does not establish that he was regarded as being disabled. “Employers need to be able to use reasonable means to ascertain the cause of troubling behavior without exposing themselves to ADA claims . . . . [cite omitted]."
It is good when courts understand the realities of the workplace.