“The problem with common sense, is that it is not common” is the famous saying right? Well the following comes from a special business report from Legally Mine, outlining a case concerning wrongful termination. It makes my head spin – Matt
Employer Held Liable for $720,000 for Wrongful Termination
This case involved a jury award against an agri-business for violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The facts of the case were that a worker in a potato-starch processing plant in Maine developed carpal tunnel syndrome approximately one year after being hired. She was seen by her personal doctor as well as a doctor supplied by her employer. Not surprisingly the two doctors had differing views as to the treatment and change in work duties required to ameliorate the employee’s condition. For just over one year following the diagnosis, the employer tried various things to assist the employee (such as time off, lighter duties, bringing in an ergonomic specialist and changing certain conditions in the work place). At one point, the employer established an appointment for the employee to see a doctor. The employee failed to show up to the appointment. The employee also failed to show up to a scheduled appointment with the management to discuss the problem. Following these failures to cooperate with the employer, the employee was fired. The employee brought suit against the employer under the Americans with Disabilities Act, alleging that she had been wrongfully terminated because of her disability. The jury found in favor of the employee and awarded $300,000 in compensatory damages (apparently much of the award for emotional distress) and $420,000 in punitive damages, along with back pay (in spite of the fact that the employee had not even tried to find new employment). (Quint v. A.E. Staley Manufacturing Company, 172 F3d 1; 1999 Us. App.
LEXIS 4145 (Ist Cir. 1999))