Employee is Not "Substantially Limited" Under the ADA When He is Able to Work a 40-Hour Week But No Overtime.

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Some people just can’t catch a break.  In recent years, this was certainly true of Michael Boitnott, an employee of Corning Incorporated.  Mr. Boitnott, a maintenance engineer, worked a schedule that was typical for similarly-situated co-workers, which included twelve-hour shifts, alternating bi-weekly between day shifts and night shifts.  Throughout 2002 through 2004, Mr. Boitnott experienced health problems for which he was periodically absent from work, including abdominal pain, a heart attack with further cardiac difficulties, and leukemia.  In February 2004, following his leukemia-related absence, Mr. Boitnott regained his health and told Corning he was ready to return to work.  According to his physician, however, Mr. Boitnott was limited to working a typical 40-hour, day-shift workweek without overtime.  Thus, Mr. Boitnott could not return to his former schedule of twelve-hour rotating shifts.

Corning was unable to reinstate Mr. Boitnott to the position he held before his absence because of these restrictions.  Thereafter, Mr. Boitnott filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging that Corning’s refusal to allow him to work a 40-hour week was a violation of its obligation to reasonably accommodate his disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The EEOC agreed, and issued a finding in Mr. Boitnott’s favor. 

Mr. Boitnott also applied for long-term disability (LTD) benefits.  His benefits were initially approved, but later terminated because the carrier determined Mr. Boitnott was able to work a normal 40-hour workweek, and there were maintenance engineer jobs in his area that did not require overtime work. 

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