Johnson & Bell, Ltd. attorneys, Joseph F. Spitzzeri and Christopher J. Carlos, received a not guilty verdict in favor of their client, an automobile parts and repair shop, in an Americans with Disabilities Act case brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC sought both compensatory and punitive damages, the maximum potential of which totaled $350,000 of recoverable damages.
The case involved a parts sales manager (“employee”), who went on a medical leave of absence on September 13, 2003. The employee was released to return to work with various physical restrictions on January 16, 2004. The defendant argued that the employee was not capable of performing the essential functions of his job with or without reasonable accommodations for his medical restrictions and didn’t allow him to return to work. The employee filed charges with the EEOC and later claimed the refusal to allow him to return to work was in retaliation for the filing of those charges. The EEOC argued that the employee was capable of performing the essential functions of the job of a parts sales manager with or without reasonable accommodations and that the defendant retaliated against the employee by not allowing him to return to work after he made complaints of disability discrimination to the EEOC.
After deliberating for just under two hours, the jury returned a verdict for the defense.