Disability Law

Lawyer loses ADA appeal in suit claiming she was fired because of insomnia

An in-house lawyer who claimed she was fired because of an inability to sleep more than four hours a night has lost her federal appeal.

The Richmond, Va.-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against lawyer Victoria Anderson, who had claimed she was fired in 2007 from cable TV company Discovery Communications in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the National Law Journal reports.

In an unpublished opinion (PDF), the 4th Circuit upheld summary judgment for Anderson’s employer. A federal court had ruled Anderson did not suffer from a disability when she was fired, citing the opinion of Anderson’s own doctors. The trial court had also ruled that even if Anderson’s insomnia was a disability, it was not the reason for her firing. Discovery Communications had claimed it fired Anderson because she failed to keep accurate time sheets, she had poor communications skills and she was untruthful with co-workers.

“Discovery articulated a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for Anderson’s termination of employment,” the appeals court said, “and the record is devoid of evidence that would create a genuine issue of material fact as to whether that explanation was mere pretext.”

Anderson did not comment when contacted by the NLJ.

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