SW Legal studies in Business

Hostile Work Environment Suit May Be Brought Under ADA
Description Appeals court affirmed a jury verdict for a disabled worker who had been accommodated with a job he could perform but was subject to harassment by other workers and some supervisors because of his disability.
Topic Employment Discrimination
Key Words Disability; Hostile Work Environment
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Fox worked at a GM plant for 12 years before he suffered a non-work related back injury and was unable to work for 11 years, after which he returned to work at GM. Over the next few years he suffered more back problems and would be out of work for various periods of time. During his last working period his doctor restricted him to light-duty work. He contended that during the 10 months he worked, while his supervisor accommodated him, his co-workers subjected him to a barrage of harassment and that some superiors assigned him to work that was beyond his physical ability. Fox quit and applied for disability benefits. He sued GM for disability discrimination on the basis of hostile work environment. The jury awarded him over $200,000 in damages. GM appealed.
Decision Affirmed. To establish a hostile work environment, a disabled plaintiff must show that he was subjected to unwelcome harassment, the harassment was based on his disability, the harassment was sufficiently severe to alter a term, condition or privilege of employment, and that a factual basis exists to impute liability for the harassment to the employer. Fox met those conditions according to the jury and its award was not out of line.
Citation Fox v. General Motors Corp., - F.3d - (2001 WL 369669, 4th Cir., 2001)

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