Anderson v. DSM N.V., et al., 2008 WL 5244259 (D.N.J., December 15, 2008) – A federal district court in New Jersey recently granted summary judgment on a plaintiff’s disability claim brought under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), where the plaintiff’s physician stated “not only could [she] not work at her job … she couldn’t be with people. She couldn’t run her life well.” Under the well-established test from McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973), a plaintiff must demonstrate that she had a disability, was a “qualified individual,” and suffered an adverse employment action because of her disability. In the Third Circuit, the court said, to be “qualified,” the plaintiff must not only establish that she satisfied the prerequisites for the position, but also that she was capable of performing the essential functions of the position, with or without reasonable accommodation. This burden, which belongs to the plaintiff, is not met by simply referring to prior positive job evaluations.

Note: This article was published in the January 2009 issue of the New Jersey eAuthority.

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