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7th Circuit rules against fired animal shelter worker

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed summary judgment for the city of Jeffersonville after finding that a terminated employee’s lawsuit claiming her firing violated the Americans with Disabilities Act can’t proceed because the woman doesn’t qualify as “disabled” under the ADA.

Angelina Povey injured her wrist while working as an attendant at the city’s animal shelter. This injury caused her job duties to be restricted and placed more requirements on the other employees to work more weekends. A co-worker began harassing Povey because of the effect of her injury on his schedule. She reported the co-worker’s comments, and the two were assigned to duties away from each other while working.

Shortly after Povey filed a complaint against the co-worker, the city learned that Povey’s permanent physical restrictions would leave her unable to perform any of the essential functions of an adoption kennel attendant. Her employment was then terminated.

She filed her lawsuit alleging discrimination under the ADA and that she was fired in retaliation for her prior complaints of discrimination and harassment. U.S. Judge Richard Young granted summary judgment for the city, finding Povey failed to demonstrate she was a qualified individual under the ADA. She didn’t provide evidence that her wrist injury impaired her from completing daily tasks; her perceived impairment foreclosed her from accepting a broad range or class of jobs; she was perceived unable to perform manual tasks; she was a qualified individual as defined under the ADA; and she was terminated in retaliation for exercising her rights under the ADA.

Povey argued on appeal that the city regarded her as having a substantial impairment that limited her abilities in the major life activity of working, pointing to comments from her supervisors. One supervisor said that  Povey wasn’t able to use her right hand, and another believed Povey’s work restrictions prevented her from performing her job and that the city didn’t have a job for someone with a permanent disability.

In Angelina Povey v. City of Jeffersonville, Indiana, 11-1896, the 7th Circuit rejected her claims, finding none of the statements to be so sweeping as to exclude Povey from a broad class of jobs. Those statements don’t constitute facts from which a jury could reasonably conclude that Jeffersonville regarded Povey as disabled under the ADA, wrote Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman, District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois, who is sitting by designation.

Povey is not protected by the ADA provisions, and her retaliation claim under the ADA also fails.
 

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  1. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  2. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

  3. ACLU. Way to step up against the police state. I see a lot of things from the ACLU I don't like but this one is a gold star in its column.... instead of fighting it the authorities should apologize and back off.

  4. Duncan, It's called the RIGHT OF ASSOCIATION and in the old days people believed it did apply to contracts and employment. Then along came title vii.....that aside, I believe that I am free to work or not work for whomever I like regardless: I don't need a law to tell me I'm free. The day I really am compelled to ignore all the facts of social reality in my associations and I blithely go along with it, I'll be a slave of the state. That day is not today......... in the meantime this proposed bill would probably be violative of 18 usc sec 1981 that prohibits discrimination in contracts... a law violated regularly because who could ever really expect to enforce it along the millions of contracts made in the marketplace daily? Some of these so-called civil rights laws are unenforceable and unjust Utopian Social Engineering. Forcing people to love each other will never work.

  5. I am the father of a sweet little one-year-old named girl, who happens to have Down Syndrome. To anyone who reads this who may be considering the decision to terminate, please know that your child will absolutely light up your life as my daughter has the lives of everyone around her. There is no part of me that condones abortion of a child on the basis that he/she has or might have Down Syndrome. From an intellectual standpoint, however, I question the enforceability of this potential law. As it stands now, the bill reads in relevant part as follows: "A person may not intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion . . . if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because the fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or a potential diagnosis of Down syndrome." It includes similarly worded provisions abortion on "any other disability" or based on sex selection. It goes so far as to make the medical provider at least potentially liable for wrongful death. First, how does a medical provider "know" that "the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion SOLELY" because of anything? What if the woman says she just doesn't want the baby - not because of the diagnosis - she just doesn't want him/her? Further, how can the doctor be liable for wrongful death, when a Child Wrongful Death claim belongs to the parents? Is there any circumstance in which the mother's comparative fault will not exceed the doctor's alleged comparative fault, thereby barring the claim? If the State wants to discourage women from aborting their children because of a Down Syndrome diagnosis, I'm all for that. Purporting to ban it with an unenforceable law, however, is not the way to effectuate this policy.

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