Judge Grants Collector’s MSJ After Sued by Former Employee for Age Discrimination, ADA Violation

A District Court judge in Kansas has granted a defendant’s motion for summary judgment after it was sued by a former employee who accused the company of firing her because it was violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act after she was found to have used a profanity during a call with a consumer.

Background: The plaintiff, who is 64, worked part-time for the defendant, and suffered from a seizure disorder, was being trained on a new system by her supervisor. The plaintiff claimed it was difficult to tell if a call was on hold or not using the new system.

During one call, the plaintiff can be heard placing an individual on hold. The hold music began, but then cut out. The plaintiff is then heard saying, “oh, shit.” The call was resumed and completed without further incident. Upon reviewing the recording, the supervisor determined that the consumer could have heard the plaintiff issue the profanity, which was a violation of the company’s policies and procedures.

More Backstory: The plaintiff claims to have told the defendant when she was hired about her seizure disorder, but that is in dispute. The plaintiff also claims that her supervisor made comments about her age, because she was the oldest member of the team.

The Ruling: Ultimately, the plaintiff’s disability had nothing to do with her being fired, ruled Judge Eric F. Melgren, the Chief District Judge for the District of Kansas, because the plaintiff failed to connect being fired with her disability.

Turning to the ADEA claim, the plaintiff failed to prove she was discriminated against because of her age, Judge Melgren ruled. She did not, for example, cite a situation where a younger employee was not fired for uttering a profanity during a call with a consumer, or that she was replaced by someone younger after she was fired.

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