Employment Law Attorney in IrvineIn Curley v. City of North Las Vegas, ___ F.3d ___ (9th Cir. December 2, 2014), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the order of the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada (Judge Dawson), granting summary judgment on plaintiff’s claims of employment discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).

Plaintiff was employed as a “pretreatment inspector—a position that primarily entailed cleaning sewers and preventing sewer blockages” – for defendant employer. During his employment, plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), claiming that defendant had denied his request for accommodation of a hearing impairment and retaliating against him for having filed a prior charge of retaliation and race and age discrimination.  Subsequently, plaintiff asked, as a further accommodation, to be relieved from all duties that required him to be near a truck he drove, but because driving that truck was essential to his position, defendant rejected his request and instead recommended that he use dual hearing protection. Shortly after this, plaintiff was involved in an altercation with a coworker that prompted defendant to place Plaintiff on administrative leave and investigate his behavior.  During that investigation, defendant learned of disturbing behavior by plaintiff.  Moreover, this was consistent with his “many oral and written reprimands” for similar behavior in the past.  Consequently, the employer terminated plaintiff’s employment for “nonperformance of duties due to excessive [personal] phone calls, intimidation of coworkers by threats of violence, conducting and soliciting personal business on work time, and making disparaging remarks about his supervisors and [defendant].” Plaintiff sued for disability discrimination and retaliation under the ADA but the trial court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment.  Plaintiff appealed.

The appellate court agreed with the trial court, finding that even if plaintiff could establish prima facie cases of disability discrimination and retaliation, he conceded that defendant had articulated legitimate business reasons for terminating his employment, and he offered no evidence to show that these reasons were a merely a pretext for discrimination.