In Alsup v. U.S. Bancorp, a federal district court in California dismissed a plaintiff’s claims of disability discrimination, failure to accommodate and failure to engage in an interactive process against her former employer, finding that the plaintiff could not assert a disability discrimination claim on the basis of her inability to get along with her supervisor and that her requested accommodation of being transferred to a new supervisor was unreasonable as a matter of law.
Marlene Alsup alleged that after she was assigned a new boss in September 2012, she was subjected to belittlement and ridicule by her new boss that resulted in exacerbation of her bipolar depression condition. She requested to be accommodated under the ADA with a “switch in supervisors” because she could not work with her supervisor or her supervisor’s boss. U.S. Bancorp asked Alsup to identify other restrictions that would allow her to continue working with her supervisor, and when she offered no other proposed accommodations, denied her request for transfer to a different supervisor.
Alsup filed a lawsuit against U.S. Bancorp under California’s disability discrimination laws, but the trial court dismissed all of her claims. The court held that Alsup did not assert a disability discrimination claim because the only “disability” Alsup identified was an “inability to work with her supervisor,” which is not, as a matter of law, a disability. Further, even if she had a disability, the court found that she could not perform the essential duties of her job with or without a reasonable accommodation. The court also dismissed Alsup’s failure to accommodate claim because the only accommodation she requested was a transfer to a new supervisor, which was unreasonable as a matter of law. Finally, the court found that U.S. Bancorp fulfilled its duty to engage in a timely, good faith interactive process with Alsup.