Judge Rules for Harris Health in nurse's ADA claim

   A U. S. District judge has ruled that Harris County Hospital District did not violate the Americans with Disability Act when it discharged a nurse who could not perform her duties. Ajeleti, a long term nurse in the Obstetrics Unit at Ben Taub suffered a back injury at work and was medically restricted from performing tasks such as standing and lifting.  As an accommodation, Harris Health transferred Plaintiff to a sedentary position in the Ask My Nurse unit where her primary job duty was telephone triage of patients.  During the 90 day orientation period, Plaintiff had difficulty performing job duties related to telephone triage including problems navigating in EPIC, performing internet searches, and correctly documenting calls.  Plaintiff alleged that Harris Health’s comments related to her back injury, and resulting termination were pretext for disability discrimination. Plaintiff was terminated from her position due to her inability to perform nursing clinical duties in the Ask My Nurse department. Ajeleti filed suit alleging that she was terminated because of her disability in violation of the Americans with Disability Act. On January 24, 2017 Judge Alfred Bennett granted Harris Health’s Motion for Summary Judgment stating that “a reasonable juror could not find that Harris Health’s proffered reason for Plaintiff’s termination, namely, poor performance during the orientation period, was pretext for discrimination.”

Please click here to view the court order.