Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ninth Circuit Rules Peace Officer's ADHD is Not a Disability Under the ADA

On August 15, 2014 in Weaving v. City of Hillsboro, the Ninth Circuit ruled a police officer's attention deficit hyperactivity disorder was not a "disability" under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The court upheld the officer's termination for work-related problems caused by his ADHD.

In Weaving, the City terminated an officer for not getting along with peers and subordinates. The City alleged he "created and fostered a hostile work environment" and had problems with interpersonal communication. The officer argued his ADHD impaired his ability to work and interact with others, and qualified as disability under the ADA. He argued the City terminated him for his disability in violation of the ADA.

The court ruled his ADHD did not constitute a "disability" under the ADA because his condition did not severely impair his ability to work and interact with others. The court found he was a skilled police officer and supervisors had selected him for high-level assignments. Also, his problems interacting with others did not rise to the level of a disability. Asserting a disability on this basis requires such severe impairment that the subject is barely functional and essentially housebound. For these reasons, the court ruled his termination did not violate the ADA.