ADA case: More prima donna than prima facie at hotel? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

ADA case: More prima donna than prima facie at hotel?

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Hotel banquet captain Richard Robinson claimed to suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and several physical impairments. He asked his employer, the Hyatt Hotel in New Brunswick, to accommodate the myriad maladies by not making him deal with routine work details until the end of his shift.

When a coffee break area was improperly set up, the hotel’s general manager called Robinson and two food service workers to find out what went wrong.

Robinson considered this a violation of their accommodation agreement, and lost his temper while cleaning up the coffee break area. He screamed profanities. He tossed his vest, tie and some signs on the floor. Then he turned in his employee badge.

His supervisor called him and asked him to return to the hotel. Once there, he was told an investigation into the incident had been launched and he might be terminated as a result. The investigation revealed several additional incidents of insubordination and outbursts at hotel guests. Hyatt fired Robinson.

Robinson filed suit under the ADA, but failed to establish a prima facie case when he could not prove that Hyatt’s nondiscriminatory reason for terminating him was a pretext for discrimination. The court dismissed all charges against the employer.

Note: Accommodating employees with behavioral problems can be difficult, but nothing in the law requires employers to tolerate insubordination or outbursts at customers.

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