75 F.3d 362 (8th Cir. 1996), 95-2075, Price v. S-B Power Tool

Docket Nº:95-2075.
Citation:75 F.3d 362
Party Name:Laurina PRICE, Plaintiff/Appellant, v. S-B POWER TOOL, also known as Skil Corporation, a division of Emerson Electric Company, Defendant/Appellee.
Case Date:January 30, 1996
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
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75 F.3d 362 (8th Cir. 1996)

Laurina PRICE, Plaintiff/Appellant,

v.

S-B POWER TOOL, also known as Skil Corporation, a division

of Emerson Electric Company, Defendant/Appellee.

No. 95-2075.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

January 30, 1996

Submitted Dec. 15, 1995.

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Larry J. Steele, Walnut Ridge, AR, argued for appellant.

Counsel who presented argument on behalf of the appellee was Robin Shively, Little Rock, AR, argued for appellee (Russell Gunter, on brief).

Before MAGILL, BRIGHT, and MURPHY, Circuit Judges.

DIANA E. MURPHY, Circuit Judge.

Laurina Price appeals from a judgment dismissing her employment discrimination claim brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12101-12213, and from the denial of her motion for reconsideration. 1 Her complaint alleged that S-B Power Tool (Skil) 2 terminated her employment because she suffers from epilepsy. The district court 3 granted summary judgement to Skil after determining that Price had failed to establish a prima facie case and had not shown that Skil's proffered legitimate nondiscriminatory reason was pretextual. We affirm.

The background facts are not in dispute. In 1984 Price was hired as an assembler by Skil, which manufactures handheld power tools. She continued working at that job for more than eight years, except for a brief period of time when she was classified as a line inspector. The record indicates that Price suffers from epilepsy or a seizure disorder and that Skil was aware of her condition. Skil does not dispute that Price was able to perform her assembly job well on the days that she reported to work.

Price had attendance problems throughout her employment at Skil and had received a number of verbal and written warnings as a result. She was discharged on April 19, 1993, after failing to report to work on April 12 and 13 after she had been given formal written warnings on March 1 and January 11. At the time of her termination she was informed that the reason for the action was her excessive absences.

Skil's attendance policy requires that an employee's absentee rate not exceed three percent. Generally, an employee who violates the policy receives a verbal warning for the first offense, a written warning for the second offense, and termination for the third offense, but the policy provides that discharge is permissible after an initial verbal warning.

Skil determines an employee's absentee rate by dividing the number of unscheduled job absences by the number of days worked in a rolling twelve month period. The calculation does not include long term absences after the first four days, declared bad weather

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days, scheduled absence for vacation, scheduled absence for holidays, approved leaves of absence, or absences of less than a full day.

Skil has a practice of granting leaves of absence, including medical leaves of absence, to any employee who requests them. Skil had encouraged Price to take leaves of absence when necessary and had never denied her request for one. Price was aware of this policy and had taken leaves of absence for medical, personal, and pregnancy reasons. During the year prior to her dismissal, she took maternity leave from November 11, 1991 to June 28, 1992, personal leave unrelated to her epilepsy from September 16 to 21, 1992, and medical leave (presumably for her epilepsy) from October 6 to 27, 1992 and from November 30, 1992 to January 4, 1993. These approved leaves were not counted against her in the calculation of her absentee rate. The plant was also shut down several times during the year prior to her termination: June 29 to July 10, October 1 to 2, November 23 to 27, December 28, 1992 to January 4, 1993, January 20 to 29, February 15 to 26, and March 22 to 26, 1993.

During the twelve...

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