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Case asks - is a heart condition a disability?

Any of our Colorado readers who are familiar with lawsuits filed under the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act probably know that in some cases the main issue is whether or not the condition in question qualifies as a disability or not. After all, only those conditions that fall within the definition of "disability," as stated in the statute, are protected conditions under the law. This very issue appears to be the crux of the case for one man.

The man, who was employed for years as a maintenance worker for a school district, has claimed in his lawsuit that he was subjected to illegal employment discrimination when he was instructed to go 40 feet up in the air in a "cherry picker" to replace an old rope on a flagpole. The man states that these instructions came despite the fact that he has a heart condition which requires him to take a certain type of medication that can cause light-headedness - which led this man to believe it was not a good idea to be that high in the air while taking this medication. As a result, the man claims that his resignation in early 2011 was more forced than voluntary. The reports indicate that the man is seeking at least $75,000 in damages.

The school district has thus far denied all of the allegations in the lawsuit, and further states the former employee's medical condition is not a disability. The school district alleges that the employee flat-out refused to perform his job at times, and his resignation was in fact completely voluntary.

Most cases have one particular issue that is the main source of contention between the parties. In this case, deciding whether or not the man's heart condition qualifies as a disability under the ADA may be the ultimate issue.

Source: TuscolaToday.com, "Mayville schools face lawsuit from former employee," Tom Gilchrist, Dec. 22, 2013

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