Unaware of medical condition, employer defeats discrimination claim.


Byline: Barry Bridges

A company could not be held liable for disability discrimination when it was not aware of the medical condition of a former employee who brought suit, U.S. District Judge John J. McConnell Jr. has held.

The plaintiff, David Saad, began working for defendant Hexagon Metrology in March 2015 as an assistant marking manager. Prior to assuming the position, he passed a pre-employment physical and drug test performed by Concentra Health Services.

Saad's new job did not get off to a great start, however, and he was soon placed on a performance plan with several "action areas" identified as needing attention.

On June 16, Hexagon's manager of health and well-being learned from Concentra that Saad suffered from chronic pain and had requested an increase in his OxyContin dosage. That day, the manager met with Saad and asked if he required an accommodation for his condition. He replied in the negative.

Meanwhile, several days after the June 15 deadline for improvements specified in Saad's performance plan, Hexagon's directors of marketing and human resources met with him to discuss his poor job performance, as well as reports that he had made disparaging remarks about management to other employees. Although Saad denied those accusations, the directors decided to terminate him effective June 22.

The directors had not been made aware of Saad's medical condition and OxyContin use, which proved pivotal to the outcome in Saad's lawsuit alleging disability discrimination.

McConnell wrote, "Mr. Saad fails to establish a prima facie case of discrimination because the two individuals who decided to terminate Mr. Saad were unaware of Mr. Saad's medical condition when he was terminated."

Further, even if a prima facie case could be made, Hexagon had a legitimate...

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