Fourth Circuit Ruling affirms W.D. Va. Ruling in Favor of Employer in ADA Case

Employers struggle to determine whether employees are disabled under the American with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  They ask, “Is an employee who is restricted from working extended shifts or overtime hours because of a physical or mental impairment considered disabled under the ADA?”  In a recent opinion, the Fourth Circuit has held that these employees are not disabled under the ADA.  The Fourth Circuit reasoned that an inability to perform overtime work, standing alone, is not a "substantial" limitation of a major life activity under the ADA and therefore an employee who can work a 40 hour week, but not overtime, is not disabled.  Affirming the Western District of Virginia’s decision granting summary judgment to the employer in an ADA case, the Fourth Circuit found:

This case involves a claim brought by Michael R. Boitnott ("Boitnott") against his employer, Corning Incorporated ("Corning"), under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., in which Boitnott asserted that his inability to work more than eight hours per day and rotate day/night shifts as a result of physical impairments rendered him disabled under the ADA. Boitnott further asserted that Corning had violated the ADA by failing to provide him a "reasonable accommodation" for his disability. Corning responded  [*2] that, since Boitnott was physically able to work a normal forty hour work week and had not demonstrated that his impairments significantly restricted the class of jobs or a broad range of jobs available to him, he could not establish that he had a "substantial" limitation upon which to base a claim of disability under the ADA. The District Court granted summary judgment to Corning.1 We affirm.

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