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Rice v. Har-Co Credit Union

United States District Court, D. Maryland

September 17, 2014

TANYA RICE, Plaintiff,
v.
HAR-CO CREDIT UNION, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

RICHARD D. BENNETT, District Judge.

Plaintiff Tanya Rice ("Plaintiff" or "Rice") has filed the currently pending action against Defendant HAR-CO Credit Union ("HAR-CO") in which she alleges a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. ยง 12101 et seq., arising out of the termination of her employment. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that HAR-CO fired her after refusing to provide her with a reasonable accommodation in the form of additional unpaid leave days for medical treatment. HAR-CO has filed a Motion for Sumary Judgment (ECF No. 9), arguing that Plaintiff failed to provide requested documentation regarding her disability and that the reason for her termination was her failure to comply with that request. The Motion for Summary Judgment is now fully briefed. The parties' submissions have been reviewed and no hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2014). For the reasons that follow, Defendant HAR-CO Credit Union's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 9) is GRANTED. Additionally, Defendant's Motion to Replace Summary Judgment Exhibit 3 (ECF No. 15) is GRANTED.

BACKGROUND

This Court reviews the facts and all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007); see also Hardwick ex rel. Hardwick v. Heyward, 711 F.3d 426, 433 (4th Cir. 2013).

Plaintiff Tanya Rice ("Plaintiff" or "Rice") was an employee of Defendant HAR-CO Credit Union ("HAR-CO"). Plaintiff began experiencing headaches, nausea, loss of balance and memory, and other issues in April of 2012. Due to her medical conditions, she was hospitalized on several occasions during the summer of 2012; specifically, she was hospitalized for the following periods or days: (1) June 19 to June 21; (2) June 25; and (3) June 30 to July 4. In the interim periods, Plaintiff asserts that she was unable to work due to her "ongoing symptoms and heavy medication." Pl.'s Opp'n 1, ECF No. 10. Plaintiff also states that her condition was originally misdiagnosed, but that her doctors eventually identified Occipital Neuralgia and Gastritis as the causes of her illness. Plaintiff further alleges that she notified HAR-CO of her absences and that she had exhausted all of her paid time off by July 4, 2012. Plaintiff, however, remained absent from work, claiming that she was under heavy medication and was unable to "function in a work capacity." Id. 4.

On July 16, 2012, Plaintiff and some of her supervisors at HAR-CO discussed Plaintiff's medical condition and her absences from work. During Plaintiff's employment, HAR-CO had an attendance policy that included the following provisions:

Attendance Policy

In order to maintain adequate staffing, employees are expected to fulfill their work schedules. Each employee is hired to perform a specific job. At the time of hire, it is made clear that we need each employee every day.... An unsatisfactory attendance record, frequent lateness, and long lunch breaks may be cause for disciplinary action. Continued unsatisfactory attendance may be cause for dismissal.

Unscheduled Absences

1. An unscheduled absence is defined as an absence from work for which permission to be absent from a scheduled day of work has not been requested and received at least 24 hours in advance; or leaving work without proper notification to and approval from your supervisor.
NOTE: If an absence continues for more than one consecutively scheduled day, and the employee properly notifies the branch, the employee will not be subject to another unscheduled absence assessment. PTO will be applied to all absences.
2. For purposes of this Policy, permission to be absent from work will be granted if properly requested for the following reasons:
a. Scheduled and Approved Vacation or ...

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