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‘My disability made me do it’ argument fails to impress

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Some disabled employees believe that their disabilities excuse them from following the workplace rules other employees have to abide by. That’s not true.

Recent case: James Pacenza worked for IBM for 19 years until he was fired for accessing sexual materials on his work PC. (See “Can porn surfing be a ‘disability’? Lessons from the IBM case”.)

He sued, alleging that post-traumatic stress disorder made him more vulnerable to addiction, including a compulsion to access sexually oriented materials. He said he had really been fired because of his disability.

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals refused to entertain the argument. It said IBM had fired Pacenza for violating a perfectly legitimate rule against accessing sexual materials at work. (Pacenza v. IBM, No. 09-2025, 2nd Cir., 2010)

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