Wheatley v. Factory Card & Party Outlet, No. 15-2083 (7th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
In March 2009, Wheatley injured her foot at her home. During the months that followed, she was unable to work and saw several doctors. Her employer granted her leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) plus four additional weeks of leave, but informed her that if she could not return to work when that time period expired, her employment would be terminated. She claims she told her supervisor that she would be able to return to work wearing a walking boot, but the supervisor was doubtful that such an accommodation would be allowed because Wheatley needed to be able to climb a ladder to do her job. She applied for disability benefits and Aetna Insurance determined that she was totally disabled from her occupation. Wheatley then filed suit claiming violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101. The Seventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of the employer. The evidence presented by Wheatley was insufficient to allow a jury to conclude that she could perform the essential duties of the position if permitted to wear the medical boot and forego the ladder duties.