Court of Appeal Upholds Summary Judgment Against Disability Discrimination Claim

UPS has very strict policies enforcing the U.S. Department of Transportation's hours of work standards. King was a supervisor, responsible for ensuring employees logged hours properly, and managing the employees so they did not exceed DOT guidelines. After several warnings, King apparently persuaded an employee to revise a time card so it would appear she was not in violation of the DOT standard. After an investigation, UPS fired King. He had over 30 years of service. UPS thought highly of him. But they found his conduct to be an integrity violation and discharged him.
King sued for disability discrimination, failure to make reasonable accommodation, and breach of contract. The court of appeal in a strongly worded opinion, King v. UPS, held that King failed to raise a triable issue of fact. King did not deny what he did. The court swept aside King's efforts to argue that he had just returned from a medical leave of absence, that the employee with the false time card was not really at risk of going over hours, and that his managers conspired against him because he did not introduce evidence that UPS's stated reason for firing him - King's conduct - was untrue and was instead a mask for discrimination. The court detailed the summary judgment standard in discrimination cases, synthesizing a number of principles developed over time. The court's main point is that if the employer has a good faith belief that a manager engaged in misconduct, the plaintiff must do more than speculate about hidden reasons.