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Totally Disabled Employee Cannot Appeal to Americans With Disability Act
Description Employee injured on the job applied for and was awarded temporary total disability benefits under workers’ compensation. She then sued her employer for not making accommodation for her disability. Appeals court held that total disability by definition means unable to work, so ADA does not apply.
Topic Employment Law
Key Words Americans with Disabilities Act, Workers Compensation
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Dush injured her back while working at Appleton. She was off work for a while and then, on doctors’ recommendations, worked half time at lighter duties. After a year, one doctor said she could work full time, another one said she could work half time. She refused to work more than half time and was eventually fired for refusing to do so. She filed a worker compensation claim for temporary total disability; she won her hearing and was awarded medical expenses and benefits for temporary total disability. She then sued Appleton for violation of the ADA for discriminating against her because of her back injury.
Lower Court Decisions Summary judgment for Appleton. Dush appealed.
Court of Appeals Decision Affirmed. Since Dush had previously sued to be declared totally disabled and, therefore, unable to work, she cannot claim to have a disability that the company must accommodate. She cannot establish a prima facie case of unlawful discrimination since she was legally unable to work and could not perform "the essential functions of her job with or without reasonable accommodation."
Citation Dush v. Appleton Electric Co., ---F.3d--- (1997 WL 53542; 8th Cir.)

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