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Whitneys Desire to Control Spiraling Health Care

Added on - 16 Sep 2019

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE ANYWHERE DISTRICTNicholas Taylor,)Plaintiff)v.)No. 07-0158Whitney Industries, Inc.,)Defendant)________________________)MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN SUPPORT OFMOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENTPursuant to Fed. Rule Civ. P. 56(c), Defendant Whitney Industries Inc.(“Whitney”) respectfully requests that this Court grant its Motion for SummaryJudgment.STATEMENT OF FACTSThis action, brought by Plaintiff Nicholas Taylor (Taylor) against Whitney arisesout of the following factual situation. All facts are undisputed.Whitney is a large national corporation with approximately 1000 employees. Itwas decided by Whitney that they would charge its employees who smoke an additional$100 per month for health insurance. This decision was based on both Whitneys desire tocontrol spiraling health care costs and to promote a healthy lifestyle for its employees.The surcharge of $100 reflects the actual costs to Whitney of increased health care costsattributable to smoking. Plaintiff Taylor objected to the new policy and after her charge
against the company was rejected by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,sued the company, alleging that the new policy violates the Americans with DisabilitiesAct because his addiction to smoking is a “disability” within the meaning of the Act.I.STANDARD FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENTSummary judgment shall be entered "forthwith" if the moving papers before theCourt establish "that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movingparty is entitled to judgment as a matter of law" Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). Whitney willdemonstrate that there is now genuine issue as to any material fact in this case and that itis thus entitled to summary judgment.II.THE ADA PROTECTS ONLY THOSE WITH A DISABILITYWHICH SUBSTANTIALLY LIMITS A MAJOR LIFE ACTIVITYThe Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA” or the “Act”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 –12213 (2000), was signed into law in 90 to offer protection to those with disabilities. TheADA prohibits discrimination in all employment practices, including applicationprocedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, and other terms, conditions, andprivileges of employment.Id.§ 12112. Taylor has alleged that Whitney’s policy ofcharging employees who smoke a monthly insurance surcharge is discrimination withregard to compensation. The Act applies to employers with 15 or more employees. §12111. Whitney acknowledges that it is covered by the Act.Employment discrimination is prohibited against individuals with disabilities. Anindividual is considered to have a “disability” if he or she has a physical or mentalimpairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record or suchimpairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.Id.§ 12102. The Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission has issued regulations to provide additionalguidance regarding the interpretation of the term “disability” Those regulations providethat the term “substantially limits” means that one is unable to perform a major lifeactivity that average person in the general population can perform. 29 CFR § 1630.2(2007). “Major life activities” means functions such as caring for oneself, performingmanual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.Id.To establish an ADA disability, a plaintiff must demonstrate the he is impaired, that thelife activity that is impaired is a “major life activity,” and that the impairment“substantially limits” that life activity.Roig v. Miami Federal Credit Union,353 F. Sup.2d 1213, 1216 (S.D. Fla. 2005). The requirement that a plaintiff prove that theimpairment “substantially limits a major life activity is a severe standard and mustinclude permanent or long-term restrictions on performance of the life activity.Id.Whitney will show that nicotine addiction is not an impairment that substantially limitsany major life activity and thus it is not a disability under the ADA.III.NICOTINE ADDICTION IS NOT A DISABILITY UNDER THE ADAIt is highly unlikely that Congress intended that these addicted to nicotine wouldbe covered by the ADA. Section 12201b of the Act specifically provides that “nothing inthis Act shall be construed to preclude the prohibition of, or the imposition of restrictionson, smoking in places of employment . . . . It is inconceivable that Congress wouldintend to treat nicotine addiction as a disability while simultaneously allowing employersto prohibit smoking in the workplace.Moreover, the cases that have examined whether nicotine addiction constitutes adisability under the Act have consistently found that smokers are not covered by the
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