In this ever-litigious society of ours, it is comforting to see reason prevail on occasion, and the court's recent decision in Summers v. Target Corporation, Case No. 18-C-32 (E.D. Wis. 2019) is a good example. In Summers, an employee contended that his supervisor caused him anxiety, stress, palpitations and panic disorders, for which he was prescribed anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication. He took a medical leave and his therapist recommended that he be transferred to another location (and hence, a new supervisor) as an accommodation of his condition. When Target refused, he resigned and sued for failure to accommodate under the ADA.
Over the last several years, the Wisconsin Labor and Industry Review Commission ("LIRC") has developed a maddening interpretation of the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act as it relates to disability discrimination; that is, if the conduct that prompted an employee's discipline was caused by a disability, then taking action based on that conduct is an act of discrimination, regardless of whether the employer was aware of the connection between the two. For example, if an employee with a known mental disability tells his supervisor to "stick it" and is then disciplined, but later contends his conduct was due to his disability, LIRC has found that disciplining the employee because of his conduct is tantamount to disciplining him because of his disability, and therefore a violation of the WFEA.