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Lorius v. Amedisys Holding, L.L.C.

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

October 23, 2018




         In this action, plaintiff Atusta Lorius alleges that defendant Amedisys Holding, L.L.C., violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (“CFEPA”) when it terminated her without providing her with reasonable accommodation for her disability. Plaintiff also alleges that defendant retaliated against her for filing a workers' compensation claim in violation of Connecticut General Statutes § 31-290a.

         Defendant has filed a motion for summary judgment on plaintiff's complaint. For the following reasons, the motion for summary judgment will be granted.

         A. BACKGROUND

         The parties have submitted statements of undisputed facts, exhibits and affidavits. These materials reflect the following factual background.

         Defendant is a home health care company providing home health and hospice care to patients throughout the United States. In 2008, defendant hired plaintiff to work as a home health aide. As a home health aide, plaintiff provided “personal care” assistance to patients in their homes, including, inter alia, helping patients with bathing or showering, changing clothes, preparing food or meals, and taking a patient's blood pressure or temperature. As part of her job duties as a Home Health Aide for defendant, plaintiff drove to patient homes to provide the personal care assistance to the Company's patients.

         During plaintiff's employment, defendant maintained certain employment policies that applied to employees including plaintiff. The Employee Handbook set forth these policies, which include the promotion of equal employment opportunity and prohibition of discrimination based on disability or any other legally protected characteristic, in all employment related decisions.

         Under the Procedure for Requesting an Accommodation policy, the Employee Handbook states:

Qualified individuals with disabilities who experience difficulty performing their jobs may make requests for reasonable accommodations . . . to an employee relations manager in the Human Resources Department. On receipt of an employee's accommodation request . . . the Company will meet with the requesting individual to discuss and identify the precise limitations resulting from the disability and the potential accommodation that Amedisys might make to help overcome those limitations. Employees are expected to fully cooperate in the accommodation process. The duty to cooperate includes making every effort to provide management with current medical information as needed for the Company to ascertain its obligations and the employee's rights. Employees who do not meaningfully cooperate in the accommodation process may waive the right to accommodation.

         Also pursuant to the Employee Handbook, defendant maintains an Attendance Policy that emphasizes that attendance is critical to the performance of an employee's job duties. Pursuant to the Attendance Policy, an employee who is out of work on three consecutive days without obtaining approval from his or her supervisor is subject to termination of employment.

         Defendant utilizes a third-party administrator to administer its employees' Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) requests. The third-party administrator FMLASource corresponds with employees who request leave in accordance with the FMLA.

         Defendant also uses a third-party claims administrator to process workers' compensation claims. Pursuant to its standard procedure for the handling of workers' compensation claims, defendant submits documentation relating to an employee's initial report of injury, and then the third-party claims administrator handles the correspondence, administration, and decisionmaking regarding an employee's claim and eligibility for workers' compensation benefits.

         Plaintiff filed claims for workers' compensation benefits while working for defendant in October 2009 and again in February 2011. After each such submission, plaintiff returned to work without incident.

         In February of 2015, while attending to one of defendant's patients, plaintiff assertedly slipped and fell, injuring her left knee. Plaintiff submitted a First Report of Injury Form relating to her February 2015 injury. Defendant provided plaintiff with the two weeks off from work that she requested relating to her February 2015 injury. In accordance with its standard practice, defendant assisted plaintiff with the submission of her February 2015 First Report of Injury to defendant's third-party workers' compensation claims administrator, which handled plaintiff's claim for workers' compensation benefits.

         On October 28, 2015, plaintiff allegedly fell outside of a patient's home, again injuring her left knee. On or about October 30, 2015, plaintiff provided defendant with a doctor's note, indicating that she needed to be off work “until further notice.” The doctor's note did not provide further specifics regarding the nature of ...

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