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Rauen v. U.S. Tobacco Manufacturing Ltd. Partnership
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
319 F.3d 891 (2003)
In 1968, Beverly Rauen (plaintiff) began working as a secretary for U.S. Tobacco Manufacturing Ltd. Partnership (UST) (defendant). After several promotions, Rauen worked as a software engineer from 1987 until 1996, when Rauen was diagnosed with cancer. UST held Rauen’s position open while Rauen repeatedly went on short-term and long-term disability leave for cancer treatments, but Rauen was able to work full-time throughout 1997 and from January 1999 to October 2001. As a result of Rauen’s cancer treatments, she needed to use the bathroom up to 14 times each day, and her ostomy appliance required frequent emptying and caused skin rashes. Rauen also often experienced overwhelming fatigue. In January 1999, Rauen presented a doctor’s letter stating that it would benefit her to work from home. Rauen and UST reached an impasse regarding Rauen’s request: Rauen refused UST’s offers of a private restroom and place to lie down at the office; Rauen would not agree to come into the office at least one day per week; and Rauen maintained that she would come into the office only as necessary and that she would determine whether it was necessary. Several months later, Rauen obtained a right-to-sue letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and sued UST in district court, alleging that UST violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by refusing to grant her home-office accommodation. The parties agreed during litigation that Rauen’s essential job functions included monitoring contractors’ work, answering contractors’ questions, and ensuring that contractors do not interfere with the manufacturing process. The parties also agreed that from 1999 to 2001, Rauen worked full-time in UST’s office and performed extraordinarily well, often exceeding her basic job duties. The district court granted UST’s summary-judgment motion on Rauen’s ADA claim. Rauen appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Kanne, J.)
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