Magazine article HRMagazine

ADAAA Requires Proof of Disability

Magazine article HRMagazine

ADAAA Requires Proof of Disability

Article excerpt

Neely v. Public Service Enterprise Group Inc., 5th Cir., No. 12-51074

In affirming a jury verdict against a for- mer employee who alleged disability dis- crimination, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stated that although the Americans with Disabilities Act Amend- ments Act (ADAAA) makes it easier to prove a disability, it does not absolve a party from proving one.

Jeffrey Neely was a control room operator for Public Service Enterprise Group Texas (PSEG) who, after a series of verbal altercations with his supervisors, was suspended and then fired. After his termination, Neely was diagnosed with major depressive dis- order and generalized anxiety disorder. He sued PSEG, alleging, among other things, discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The district court rendered judgment for PSEG based on an adverse jury verdict. The 5th Cir- cuit upheld the verdict.

Neely argued that the district court erred in submitting the question "Was plaintiff a qualified individual with a disability?" as a predicate to a find- ing of discrimination on his termina- tion claim under the ADA. He claimed that the intent of the ADAAA was to expand the coverage of the ADA by sim- plifying the analysis of "disability" and focusing the finder of fact on whether there was discrimi- nation in the adverse employment action. …

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