Monday, January 22, 2007

Jacob v. Didlake (Maryland U.S.D.C.)(not approved for publication)

Decided January 19, 2007 – Opinion by Judge Deborah Chasanow (not approved for publication)

In this employment discrimination case, the Court considered Defendant Didlake Corporation’s motion for summary judgment.

Plaintiff Ronni Jacob sued Didlake for employment discrimination and a hostile work environment based on her disability from muscular dystrophy, diabetes, and certain cognitive disabilities. Prior to terminating Jacob, Defendant Didlake had sent her a memorandum documenting that she had been verbally warned on multiple occasions about several work related issues. Jacob subsequently requested certain accommodations for her disability. She was terminated after evaluation for those accommodations had begun, but before they were completed.

The Court considered but could not resolve whether certain duties for which the Plaintiff had sought accommodation were essential. Ultimately, however, the Court concluded that regardless of whether those duties were essential, the uncontroverted evidence showed that Didlake had provided reasonable accommodation. The Court further concluded that conflicting evidence produced by Jacob on the existence of a hostile work environment was insufficient to create a triable issue of fact on that issue. Thus the Court granted summary judgment to Didlake on those issues.

On the issue of whether Jacob was subjected to disparate terms and conditions of employment, the Court determined that that some evidence revealed that Jacob was not meeting some of Didlake’s undeniably legitimate expectations. Other evidence, however, suggested that Jacob’s inability to meet additional physical expectations may also have been considered in the decision to terminate her. Therefore summary judgment for Didlake on that issue was denied.

The full opinion is available in PDF.

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