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Friday, June 29, 2012

6th Circuit Overturns 17 Years of Precedent in ADA Case


In Lewis v. Humboldt Acquisition Corporation, Inc., __ F.3d ___, 2012 WL 1889389 (6th Cir. May 25, 2012), a 17 year old rule that plaintiffs alleging violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may prevail only if they show that their disability was the “sole” reason for any adverse employment action.  The Court of Appeals reversed, held, en banc, that an employee is not required to show that her disability was the “sole” reason for her termination in order to prevail on her ADA claim. However, the Sixth Circuit refused to adopt the “motivating factor” analysis from Title VII cases and ruled than an employee is required to show that her disability was a “but for” cause of the employer’s adverse employment action.  The Court relied on Gross v. FBL Financial Services, 557 U.S. 167 (2009), where the Supreme Court construed similar language found in the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).   

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