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Anthony v. TRAX: New Disability Discrimination Case

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently published a case earlier this summer regarding a unique claim of disability. Sunny Anthony was fired from her employer (TRAX) and filed suit, claiming the termination was due to her disability. The court held that Anthony lacked standing because she was not a “qualified individual” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

What Is a Qualified Individual

To reach the merits of any ADA claim, a plaintiff must show that they are a

“qualified individual” according to the law. That requires that the person “have the requisite skill, experience, education, and other job-related requirements for the position and can perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation.”

In this case, TRAX discovered that Anthony did not possess a bachelor’s degree, which was a requirement for the job she held. TRAX learned this information after she had already filed her ADA lawsuit claiming she was terminated due to her disability. Anthony had lied on her job application when she was initially hired.

After-Acquired Evidence

The Ninth-Circuit held that the evidence that was acquired after the case was filed could still be used to disqualify her. Because she lacked the degree prerequisite, she wasn’t fit for the job in the first place. The court stated, “an employer’s ignorance cannot create a credential where there is none.”

The takeaway we can take from this case is that under the ADA, after-acquired evidence can be used to terminate an employee that was not qualified for the position unless the employee can show that the prerequisite was itself discriminatory.

If you believe that you have been fired from your job due to discrimination, contact the Law Offices of Tanya Gomerman. Call 415-545-8608 today for a FREE consultation.

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