United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
memorandum opinion and order was filed under seal on June 14,
2017. It is being filed unsealed because the parties agree
that no part of it needs to remain under seal.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
A. FITZWATER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
an action by plaintiff Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (“EEOC”) under Title I of the
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”),
42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., alleging that
defendant AccentCare Inc. (“AccentCare”) refused
to reasonably accommodate Alisia Beasley's
(“Beasley's”) disability (Bipolar Disorder)
and discriminated against her by terminating her employment
because of her disability. AccentCare moves for summary
judgment. For the following reasons, the court grants the
motion as to the EEOC's discrimination claim and denies
the motion as to the EEOC's reasonable accommodation
provides home healthcare services, such as skilled home
healthcare, personal care, hospice care, private duty
nursing, and case management. AccentCare hired Beasley to work
as an IT Help Desk Analyst, which required her to provide
technical advice to the users of company hardware and
software and troubleshoot IT problems. It is undisputed that
Beasley has Bipolar Disorder.
hired Beasley on April 24, 2013 as an at-will employee and
informed her that her employment would begin with a 90-day
probationary period. In June 2013 Beasley was absent from
work for two full days, and left early three times, for
reasons including illness and registering her daughter at
school. On June 25, 2013 Beasley's supervisor, Dena Besh
(“Besh”), orally counseled Beasley about her
Monday, July 8, 2013 Beasley began to suffer increased panic
attacks, a symptom of Bipolar Disorder. That morning, Beasley
emailed Besh that she would be absent from work that day, and
possibly the next, to see her psychiatrist.
I will be out of the office today, I'm not sure if
I'm going to be able to come in tomorrow. I'm needing
to get in with my psychiatrist asap, as I've been out of
meds for my Bipolar and adult ADHD disorders now for almost 2
weeks. I missed my appointment on June 26th, out of fear of
l[o]sing my job because it was scheduled during my work
My doctor has very limited evening appointments which are
booked months in advance, which is why I've been unable
to see him after work. I've been trying to manage on my
own, which has not worked.
I'm going to see if I can get in today or tomorrow to see
D. App. 48. This email was AccentCare's first notice that
Beasley had Bipolar Disorder. Beasley emailed Besh again that
I was able to see the doctor today, he has me off tomorrow so
that I can have have some test done. As long as everything
comes back normal I will be back on Wednesday.
Id. 52. According to notes taken that day by
Beasley's psychiatrist, Shahzad S. Allawala, M.D.
(“Dr. Allawala”), Beasley's symptoms included
“irritability, ” “[m]otor restlessness
associated with anxiety, ” and “difficulty in
concentrating.” D. Sealed App. 9. Dr. Allawala's
notes do not, however, reflect that Beasley was to take time
off work. They also do not specify any future appointments,
other than to say “Return 2 weeks, or earlier if
needed.” Id. 10.
next morning, Tuesday, July 9, 2013, Beasley emailed Kimberly
Nelson (“Nelson”), a Human Resources Operations
Manager at AccentCare.
Due to medical conditions I will be out of office for an
extended amount of time. As of now my doctor has not provided
me with a return to work date. I understand that I am not
eligible for FMLA, however I am unsure if I'm eligible
for another type of leave or short term disability. Will you
please tell me what my options are?
D. App. 53. Beasley also emailed Besh on July 9.
My doctor has taken me off work for an extended amount of
time, he has not provided me with a return to work date.
emailed Beasley to request to speak by phone. Beasley
telephoned Nelson and recorded the call. Nelson informed
Beasley that AccentCare could not grant her a leave of
absence, and intended to separate her from employment based
on her not being able to return to work. The transcript of
the conversation then reflects the following exchange:
Beasley: Okay so essentially because I have a medical
condition and am not able to return to work you all are
Nelson: Well we can't, uh, we don't have, as I told
you . . . since you're not covered under FMLA and
there's not really a medical leave available for
employees who've been here such a short time . . .
Beasley: Mmmhm Nelson: . . . the only other option was a
personal leave, and . . . based on the needs of the position,
um, and needing to have someone in that . . . role, we, we
can't, you know, just leave it open indefinitely.
Beasley: Okay, I'm not asking you all to leave it open
indefinitely. As far as . . . as far as I know, may be able
to come back to work on Friday. I have a follow-up visit with
my doctor on Friday, and so I don't know if I'm gonna
to be able to come back to work on Friday or if it's
going to be a month from now. But essentially it still falls
back to that because I have a medical condition that's
stopping me from coming to work today then you all are firing
Nelson: No . . . it-It's that within the first 90 days of
your employment, you've indicated that you're-you
need to be out indefinitely and we are not in a position to
hold a position open indefinitely.
Beasley: I haven't said indefinitely, though. I
haven't given you all a time frame. As I stated, I go
back to the doctor on Friday . . .
Nelson: Okay, you're . . .
Beasley: . . . and so regardless of if I'm within my
[talking over one another]
Nelson: . . . your email to me earlier, Alisia, was that you
didn't know when you would be able to return to work.
Beasley: Correct, and I go back to the doctor on Friday.
Nelson: So I consider that to be indefinitely.
Beasley: Well no, I go back to the doctor on Friday, and when
I go back to the doctor on Friday he can either release me or
he can extend it. But one way or the other, regardless if
I'm within 90 days or if I'm there a year, you all
have the right to let me go whenever because we are . . . in
an at-will state. But I'm not . . .
Nelson: Uh-huh Beasley: . . . but I'm not letting you all
know that I'm-that I'm not going to come back at all.
All I'm saying is, as of today, my doctor has me off, I
go back to work on Monday. I'm sorry, I mean I go back to
the doctor on Friday because he put me on ...