This is one of my favorite kind of stories... An employer did the right thing, was accommodating and patient with an employee, and ultimately, won the case. I am amazed that this employee had the audacity to sue to begin with...
In Trautman v. Time Warner Cable Texas, LLC, an employee requested that she be permitted to leave work early every day due to her anxiety triggered by driving home in heavy traffic. When her demand was rejected and she ended up being terminated, she brought suit against her employer, alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, and related state laws.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled in favor of Time Warner, finding that Trautman was indeed terminated for excessive absenteeism rather than disability discrimination or FMLA retaliation, and that Time Warner did not deny Trautman a reasonable accommodation.
Not only Time Warner won the case, the Court credited the employer for good behavior! In determining that Time Warner’s reason for termination was not “pretext” for discrimination, the Court noted that Time Warner had a history of granting Trautman’s accommodation and FMLA requests back to 2013 “even when it was not required to do so by law.” The Court also credited Time Warner for its flexibility in offering a 4 p.m. departure and dinged Trautman for responding to a schedule modification by asking for an 11 a.m. departure and refusing to consider alternatives to driving, noting that her behavior was “not the stuff of flexible, interactive discussions” as required by the ADA. Time Warner’s actions of going above and beyond to assist Trautman ultimately helped secure a victory when she sued the company.