by Mark Wilson
The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld the dismissal of a Nebraska prison guard’s sex, disability and age discrimination claims.
Linda L. Faulkner was hired as a guard at Nebraska’s Douglas County Department of Corrections (DCDC) in April 2003. She suffered shoulder and back injuries during an April 2012 incident with a combative prisoner. She was placed on light duty until late August.
Faulkner was again injured during a September 4, 2012, altercation with a prisoner. After shoulder surgery, she was returned to sedentary work in November 2012, where she remained until returning to light duty in May 2013.
Faulkner was removed from light duty on July 6, 2013, after exceeding the maximum allowable number of available days under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. DCDC then sent her an August 2013 letter, declaring that her functional capacity evaluation restrictions prevented her from performing the essential duties of a DCDC guard.
Faulkner’s supervisor suggested that she advise him if she believed that some type of accommodation would enable her to perform the essential duties of the guard position.
On October 7, 2013, Faulkner requested indefinite reassignment to the DCDC central control or lobby or to the Douglas County Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to accommodate her permanent injuries. Four days later, she underwent C5-C7 disc fusion surgery. Faulkner’s employment was ultimately terminated on January 31, 2014, upon a finding that she could not physically resume her regular duties with or without reasonable accommodation.
Faulkner then brought federal suit, alleging sex, disability and age discrimination claims against DCDC. The district court granted defendants’ summary judgment on all claims.
The Eighth Circuit affirmed, holding first that Faulkner “did not establish her prima facie case of sex discrimination.” Summary judgment was also properly granted on Faulkner’s disability accommodation claim because “Faulkner’s suggested accommodations were not ones that would enable her to perform the essential functions of’ her job. The court finally found that the district court properly rejected Faulkner’s age discrimination claim “because Faulkner could not produce evidence of a similarly situated younger person who was treated differently.” See: Faulkner v. Douglas County, 906 F3d 728 (8th Cir. 2018).
As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.
Already a subscriber? Login
Related legal case
Faulkner v. Douglas County
|Cite||906 F3d 728 (8th Cir. 2018)|
|Level||Court of Appeals|