Stress Over Business-Related Flying is Not “Disability”
By Ted Olsen
Although the 2008 Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments broadened the coverage of the ADA by expanding the definition of "disability, some ADA plaintiffs' efforts to test the limits of the definition have been unsuccessful. For instance, a federal court of appeals recently rejected an ADA claim by a sales representative who was allegedly fired because she advised her boss that flying to and attending a company-sponsored sales conference would be too stressful for her and against her physician's advice. Faiola v. APCO Graphics Inc., No. 10-1137 (1st Cir. Dec. 10, 2010).
The sales representative's doctor had instructed her to avoid undue stress. The First Circuit elected not to decide whether flying is a "major life activity," choosing instead to affirm the summary judgment against the plaintiff on the grounds she had failed to show she was disabled. The plaintiff's claims under Massachusetts law were likewise found legally deficient.
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©2011 Sherman & Howard L.L.C. January 4, 2011