In Coffman v. Robt J. Young Co., Inc., Ms. Coffman worked for ten years as a copy center operator. After being injured in a non-related work accident, Ms. Coffman required 12 weeks of FMLA leave. She kept in regular communication with her employer. Once her leave was up, she was only able to use one arm. Ms. Coffman was told that she could return to a sedentary job with equal pay. She refused that position and took disability leave to further heal from the accident. A few months later, she was released to work with some physical limitations.
The company terminated Ms. Coffman upon receipt of those limitations. No interactive accommodation conversation was had nor did the employer question anyone further as to Ms. Coffman’s limitations. Instead, the employer, via letter, stated that it was terminating Ms. Coffman due to her long term disability.
Ms. Coffman filed suit, alleging violation of the ADA. She relied on the letter as direct evidence of discriminatory intent. This letter, along with other discriminatory statement, indicated that the company’s decision was based on actual or perceived disability according to the Tennessee District Court.