Sixth Circuit Confirms Standard for ‘Regarded As’ Discrimination Under the ADA

From The National Law Review: For More Info, Go Here…

ngd- “Regarded as having a Disability” is an important but vastly underrated tool for fighting disability discrimination…

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently confirmed the standard to establish a claim under the “regarded as” prong of discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Applying the correct standard for such claims, the Sixth Circuit reversed the district court’s decision granting summary judgment in favor of the defendant employer.

In Babb v. Maryville Anesthesiologists, P.C., the Sixth Circuit reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant employer. The plaintiff, a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), had been diagnosed with a degenerative eye condition, but according to plaintiff, her condition did not affect her ability to perform her job responsibilities.

The plaintiff employee alleged that she was terminated due to an incorrect perception that her eye condition was a disability. On the other hand, the defendant employer argued that the employee was terminated for clinical errors, rather than her perceived disability.

After excluding the employee’s expert evidence regarding the standard of care for CRNAs, the district court granted summary judgment in favor of the employer. The court concluded that while the employer might have perceived the employee as disabled, there was nothing in the record to suggest that the perceived disability was the basis for the termination rather than the employee’s alleged clinical errors.

The Sixth Circuit reversed, finding that there were genuine factual disputes regarding whether the employer regarded the employee as disabled and whether the employer’s proffered reasons for the employee’s termination were pretext.

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