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12.1A ADA Employment Actions—Where Evidence Supports “Sole Reason” or “Motivating Factor”

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12.1A ADA EMPLOYMENT ACTIONS—WHERE EVIDENCE SUPPORTS "SOLE REASON" OR "MOTIVATING FACTOR"

The plaintiff has brought a claim of employment discrimination based on a federal law known as the Americans with Disabilities Act, which will be referred to in these instructions as the ADA.

Under the ADA, an employer may not discriminate against an individual who has a disability when that individual is qualified to perform the essential functions of the job with or without a reasonable accommodation.

The plaintiff claims that [his] [her] disability was the [sole reason] [motivating factor] for the defendant’s decision to[[discharge] [not hire] [not promote] [demote] [state other adverse action]] the plaintiff. The defendant denies that the plaintiff’s disability was either the sole reason or a motivating factor for the defendant’s decision to [[discharge] [not hire] [not promote] [demote] [state other adverse action]] the plaintiff [and further claims the decision to [[discharge] [not hire] [not promote] [demote] [state other adverse action]] the plaintiff was based upon [a] lawful reason[s]].

Comment

The judge should consider providing the jury with the following special verdict form to determine the jury’s finding on the question of sole or mixed motives.

Special Verdict

1. Has the plaintiff proved, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the plaintiff’s [state plaintiff’s disability] was the sole reason for the defendant’s decision to [[discharge] [not hire] [not promote] [demote] [state other adverse action]] [him] [her]?

_______ Yes _______ No

If the answer to Question No. 1 is "yes," proceed to Question No. 5. If the answer to Question No. 1 is "no," proceed to Question No. 2.

2. Has the plaintiff proved, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the plaintiff’s [state plaintiff’s disability] was a motivating factor for the defendant’s decision to [[discharge] [not hire] [not promote] [demote] [state other adverse action]] [him] [her]?

_______ Yes _______ No

If the answer to Question No. 2 is "no," do not answer any further questions on [the plaintiff’s claim of disability discrimination]. If the answer to Question No. 2 is "yes," proceed to Question No. [if same decision affirmative defense applies: 3] [if same decision affirmative defense does not apply: 5].

[If "same decision" affirmative defense applies, add Question No. 3, and if appropriate, Question No. 4:]

3. Has the defendant proved, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant’s decision to [[discharge] [not hire] [not promote] [demote] [state other adverse action]] plaintiff was also motivated by a lawful reason?

_______ Yes _______ No

If your answer to Question No. 3 is "no," proceed to Question No. 5. If your answer to Question No. 3 is "yes," proceed to Question No. 4.

4. Has the defendant proved, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant would have made the same decision to [[discharge] [not hire] [not promote] [demote] [state other adverse action]] the plaintiff even if the plaintiff’s [state plaintiff’s disability] had played no role in the defendant’s decision to [[discharge] [not hire] [not promote] [demote] [state other adverse action]] the plaintiff?

_______ Yes _______ No

If your answer to Question No. 4 is "yes," do not answer any further questions on damages related to the plaintiff’s claim of disability discrimination.

5. [The judge should draft further special verdict questions to cover damages, including punitive damages if appropriate.]

 

 

DATED: ______________               PRESIDING JUROR _____________________