Equal Emp't Opportunity Comm'n v. Ford Motor Co., No. 12-2484 (6th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
In 2003 Harris was hired as a resale buyer at Ford. Throughout her employment Harris suffered from IBS, an illness that causes fecal incontinence. On bad days, Harris was unable to drive to work or stand up from her desk without soiling herself. Harris began to take intermittent FMLA leave. Her absences started to affect her job performance. In 2005 Harris’s then-supervisor allowed her to work on a flex-time telecommuting schedule on a trial basis. The supervisor deemed the trial unsuccessful. Although her next supervisor did not approve remote work, Harris worked from home on an informal basis. The days that she stayed home were marked as absences. When Harris worked nights and weekends, she made mistakes and missed deadlines because she lacked access to suppliers. After Ford declined her request for a formal telecommuting arrangement, Harris complained to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Harris was terminated in 2009 and the EEOC sued, claiming that Ford discriminated against Harris on the basis of disability and retaliated against her for filing a charge with the EEOC. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Ford. The Sixth Circuit reversed and remanded, finding find evidence that created a genuine dispute as to whether Harris was qualified to work as a resale buyer and whether she was terminated in retaliation for filing an EEOC charge.