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Seventh Circuit Reminds
Employer of "Association"

ADA protects employees
fired for caring for one
with whom associated

Discharged nurse
gets trial over termination

    The ADA protects your employees from arbitrary dismissals prompted by their care of others with ADA disabilities, or simply their association with such individuals - and not just immediate family as provided for under the FMLA.  In Dewitt v. Proctor Hospital, __F3rd__ , 07-1957 (7th Cir. February 2008) the case revolved around the cost of medical care for an employee's spouse.  Dewitt's boss had questioned her about his care, asking her to consider less costly care arrangements.  Her spouse had prostate cancer, the big bills were showing up in the employee's group medical claims, and the hospital fired her for allegedly no reason.

    Even though her dismissal happened five months after her boss had had the discussion, the court reversed summary judgment in favor of the hospital, ruling that Dewitt might convince a jury that she was fired on the basis of her relationship to a person with an ADA disability.

    The Seventh Circuit recently found that the high cost of caring for someone