Western District USDC Disability Discrimination Claim Dismissed by Summary Judgment by Pittsburgh Partners Gebler & Mahler.

Pittsburgh Partners Thomas Gebler and Emily Mahler successfully obtained dismissal of all claims in a Civil Rights lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania against a local municipality and its mayor and officer. Plaintiff, a borough police officer, brought a lawsuit pursuant to the Rehabilitation Act and 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that he was “regarded as” disabled as defined by the Act, resulting in his unlawful suspension and required submission to a psychological fitness for duty examination. Attorneys Gebler and Mahler filed a motion for summary judgment contending Plaintiff did not suffer an adverse employment action and that the borough reasonably required the fitness for duty examination for the officer in light of reports of abusive and erratic behavior by his peers in the department. The Court agreed that such requirement was a legitimate, job-related inquiry consistent with business necessity, citing case law holding that a police department’s requiring an officer to undergo such an evaluation was “entirely reasonable and even responsible” upon learning that an officer was experiencing difficulties with his mental health. The Court further dismissed Plaintiff’s hostile work environment claim on the basis of his admission that no one sincerely believed that he was actually suffering a disability, and that the alleged conduct of the borough and its officers was neither sufficiently severe or pervasive, nor related to a perceived disability.