United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
TERRENCE W. BOYLE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause comes before the Court on defendant's motion for
summary judgment. [DE 22], For the reasons discussed below,
defendant's motion [DE 22] is DENIED.
2002, plaintiff began employment in defendant's
Information Services Technology Department ("IT
department"). DE 27-2, ¶ 1. As a Systems
Programmer, plaintiff was responsible for back-end
system-related functions for defendant's mainframe
server, making sure server applications ran properly. DE
27-1, ¶ 5. Plaintiff was able to perform his tasks
remotely, and as a result, he often telecommuted from his
home in Raleigh, North Carolina. Id. ¶¶
March 2016, plaintiff met with his immediate supervisor to
discuss an IT modernization plan that would move applications
off the mainframe. DE 27-2, ¶ 3.
August 11, 2016, plaintiffs physician, Dr. David Adams,
diagnosed him with deep vein thrombosis ("DVT") in
his right leg. Id. ¶ 5. On August 16, 2016, Dr.
Adams sent defendant a letter stating that plaintiff had been
diagnosed with DVT and requesting that plaintiff be permitted
to work from home for two weeks until the blood clot in his
leg stabilized. DE 27-1, ¶ 19. Defendant granted
plaintiffs request. Id. ¶ 21.
September 6, 2016-following the conclusion of Dr. Adams's
telecommuting request-defendant proposed a modification to
defendant's job description, adding "operational
duties." Id. ¶¶ 29-30. Operational
duties could not be performed remotely, but only required
about one or two hours of work each day to complete.
Id. ¶¶ 24, 26. This was the first time
defendant told plaintiff of his new responsibilities.
Id. ¶ 30. At the time of the proposed
modification, two Cumberland County employees were
responsible for the operational duties, and there were other
employees trained on how to complete them. Id.
¶ 27-29. Plaintiff refused to accept the new
responsibilities because of his workload and DVT.
Id. ¶ 31.
September 15, Dr. Adams sent another letter to defendant
advising that plaintiffs DVT had additional complications and
requesting that defendant permit plaintiff to telecommute for
an additional two to three months. Id. ¶ 32.
Defendant refused this request, indicating that plaintiffs
new job functions required him to work on-site daily.
Id. ¶ 33.
October 20, plaintiff met with his supervisors and human
resources personnel to discuss the operational duties and his
objections to them. Id. ¶ 34. On October 24,
defendant again denied plaintiffs request that he work
remotely because of the operational duties, which defendant
indicated comprised 30% of his duties. Id.
¶¶ 34, 35. Defendant's IT director informed
plaintiff that he was expected to report to work on November
3. Id. ¶ 36. After plaintiff failed to do so, a
pre-disciplinary conference was held on November 9, and
plaintiff was terminated on November 14. DE 27-2, ¶24.
plaintiffs termination, the employees who had been performing
the operational duties continued to do so for an additional
six months, at which point the duties transitioned to two
other employees already on staff. DE 27-1, ¶ 38.
December 2017, plaintiff brought claims for discrimination
and retaliation under the Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq. DE 1. The
Court denied defendant's motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(6) in October 2018. Discovery ended on June 28, 2019.
Defendant now moves for summary judgment. DE 22.
motion for summary judgment may not be granted unless there
are no genuine issues of material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating
the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett,477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). If that
burden has been met, the non-moving party must then come
forward and establish the specific material facts ...