Can someone claim they’re so disabled they need Social Security benefits, yet still tell an employer they can perform a job’s essential functions? Sounds fishy, right? A judge thought so.
Recent case: Artist Christine Eck worked for Whirley Industries until she took a lengthy disability leave because of multiple sclerosis. While she was off, she applied for Social Security disability benefits, swearing to the federal agency that she was unable to perform her old job.
Then she told Whirley she was ready to report to work and able to perform all the essential functions of her job. But meanwhile, the company decided to eliminate her position.
Eck sued, alleging ADA discrimination. But the court said she couldn’t have it both ways. (Eck v. Whirley Industries, No. 08-330, WD PA, 2011)
Final note: Had Eck asked for accommodations, she might have had a case.
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