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Zenor v. El Paso Healthcare System

176 F.3d 847 (1999)

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Zenor v. El Paso Healthcare System

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

176 F.3d 847 (1999)

Facts

In 1991, Tom Zenor (plaintiff) began working as a pharmacist at a hospital called Columbia Medical Center-East (Columbia) (defendant), which was owned by El Paso Healthcare Limited (defendant). Zenor developed a cocaine addiction in 1993, but Columbia was unaware of it until August 15, 1995, when Zenor called the pharmacy director and explained that Zenor could not report to his evening shift because he was still under the influence of cocaine that he had injected early that morning. Zenor then checked himself into an emergency room and detox center, and he later informed Columbia’s human-resources director, Yolanda Mendoza, that he wanted to enter a residential rehabilitation program. With Mendoza’s assistance, Zenor took a leave of absence under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Columbia decided to terminate Zenor after his FMLA leave expired, citing concerns that Zenor could easily access pharmaceutical cocaine at the pharmacy. Columbia rejected Zenor’s requests to transfer to a day shift in which he could be monitored or a satellite pharmacy that did not have access to pharmaceutical cocaine. Zenor sued Columbia and El Paso Healthcare Limited in federal district court, alleging that Columbia had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by terminating him. At trial, after Zenor presented his case-in-chief, Columbia moved for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL). The district court granted Columbia’s motion, and Zenor appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Garwood, J.)

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