Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Disability Discrimination Case out of Sandusky, Ohio

Yost v. Sandusky, 2015-Ohio-805

Disability discrimination case brought under the Ohio Civil Rights Act, where a battalion chief with the fire department was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Medical examinations found him unfit for duty. The court found that the City of Sandusky's reliance on the recommendations of the physicians prevented the claim that they engaged in an unlawful discriminatory practice.

Ohio Revised Code 4112.02, the Ohio Civil Rights Act, prohibits disability discrimination and provides that it is an unlawful discriminatory practice:

"For any employer, because of the race, color, religion, sex, military status, national origin, disability, age, or ancestry of any person, to discharge without just cause, to refuse to hire, or otherwise to discriminate against that person with respect to hire, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, or any matter directly or indirectly related to employment. R.C. 4112.02(A)."

An employee is considered “disabled” where he or she has

"a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, including the functions of caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working; a record of a physical or mental impairment; or being regarded as having a physical or mental impairment." R.C. 4112.01(A)(13).

In order to establish a prima facie case of disability discrimination, a plaintiff must establish:

"(1) that he was [disabled or regarded as disabled], (2) that an adverse employment action was taken by an employer, at least in part, because the individual was [disabled], and (3) that the person, though disabled], can safely and substantially perform the essential functions of the job in question." DeBolt v. Eastman Kodak Co., 146 Ohio App.3d 474, 2001-Ohio-3996, 766 N.E.2d 1040, ¶ 39 (10th Dist.), citing Columbus Civ. Serv. Comm. v. McGlone, 82 Ohio St.3d 569, 571, 697 N.E.2d 204 (1998).

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