Firm Defeats ADA Summary Judgment Motion Against Terminated Westport Computer Teacher

Court rules jury could find for Westport teacher who suffered pregnancy-related disability and was terminated; rejects collateral estoppel argument

“Rather, when the record is reviewed as a whole, the Court finds sufficient evidence to create a genuine issue for trial as to whether Defendant’s reason was a pretext for discrimination. There is substantial evidence of Landon’s animosity concerning teacher absences. Plaintiff had significantly more computer experience than her replacement. Plaintiff was tenured, her replacement was not. Plaintiff had far less classroom experience than her replacement, thus raising a question as to why Defendant would prefer to have Plaintiff in the classroom. Plaintiff worked with each of the students once a week and, thus, if she were absent for medical reasons, her absence would have far less impact on the students than as a classroom teacher, who was responsible for the same 20 to 25 students all day, every day. Moreover, for over three years, Defendant had been willing to split the computer teacher position between Plaintiff at. 8 FTE and another .2 FTE teacher. Additionally, although Defendant was very accommodating about Plaintiff’s requests for extended leave, it never engaged in an interactive process with her to determine what accommodations she would need to return to her former job. Finally, when Plaintiff was cleared by her doctor in 2010 to return to her computer teaching job, Defendant refused to allow her to return to this position.”

Accordingly, after a careful review of the record, the Court concludes that there are genuine issues of material fact as to Plaintiff’s disability discrimination claims set forth in Count III and denies Defendant’s motion for summary judgment as to Count III.

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