Authored By: Ollie Lammers
According to Lexblog, a recent case was brought against the company STME, LLC, d.b.a. Massage Envy-South Tampa on employment discrimination claims.
According to Lexblog, STME terminated Kimberly Lowe in 2014 because she traveled to Ghana against her employer’s wishes.
The company’s owner was concerned about reports of an Ebola epidemic at the time raging in many neighboring countries and feared Lowe would contract Ebola from her trip.
The complaint alleged that STME wrongfully terminated Lowe regarding her as disabled based on fears and beliefs about Ebola. The case also claimed that the termination was unlawful discrimination based on the plaintiff’s association with people in Ghana who STME believed might be disabled by Ebola.
According to Lexblog, under the American Disability Act, for Lowe to be deemed “regarded as” disabled, the plaintiff had to show that she suffered an adverse action ”because of an actual or perceived physical or mental impairment”. Lowe was healthy at the time of her termination and STME’s owner did not perceive her to be impaired at that time. The owner did perceive the plaintiff had a potential for becoming infected in the future.
The court held that the actual or perceived impairment must exist at the time of the adverse action. A belief that someone might contract an impairment in the future does not satisfy the American Disability Act’s “regarded as” standard.
The trial court dismissed the claims as did the court of appeals.
For more information about this case, click here.
Photo Credit: Vitaliy Vodolazskyy