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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP

United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina

June 26, 2014

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Plaintiff,
v.
WOMBLE CARLYLE SANDRIDGE & RICE, LLP, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

CATHERINE C. EAGLES, District Judge.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP, alleging that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") by failing to accommodate the disability of its employee Charlesetta Jennings and by discharging Ms. Jennings because of her disability. Womble Carlyle has moved for summary judgment. Because Ms. Jennings cannot perform the essential functions of the job with or without a reasonable accommodation, she is not a qualified individual under the ADA, and the Court must grant summary judgment to the defendant.

FACTS[1]

Ms. Jennings began working for Womble Carlyle as an Office Services Assistant in April 2000. (Doc. 29-3 at ¶ 7; Doc. 33-1 at 1.) While her job title and hiring authority shifted over time, she essentially held the same position until she was terminated in August 2011 as a Support Services Assistant ("SSA"). (Doc. 29-3 at ¶¶ 7, 28; Doc. 33-1 at 2-3.)

Womble Carlyle had three work sites for SSAs: the main service center at One West Fourth Street and two smaller service centers at Liberty Plaza and Winston Tower. (Doc. 29-1 at ¶ 8.) SSAs had many duties, and their daily tasks varied significantly. (Doc. 33-1 at 7; Doc. 33-2 at 2; Doc. 33-5 at 6.) The written job description for the position profiles the SSA job as "entry level basic operations" and lists the job duties and responsibilities as follows:

• Runs high volume copy machines; performs binding and finishing work
• Ensures convenience copiers are working; performs routine maintenance repairs
• Maintains records for management and inventory purposes
• Distributes office supplies, fax transmissions and mail as designated
• Utilizes accounting devices as directed to ensure accurate charges
• Responds to and coordinates all service calls
• Delivers work as requested to businesses and residences
• May travel between customer buildings
• Answers customer questions
• Performs duties related to the shipping of materials
• Performs filing duties as assigned
• Performs housekeeping duties as ...

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