In Owusu-Ansah v. The Coca-Cola Company, the employee challenged the employer’s requirement that he undergo a mental examination as a condition of continued employment. Franklin Owusu-Ansah was a quality assurance specialist for a Coca-Cola call center located in Georgia. During a meeting with his supervisor, Owusu-Ansah complained about discrimination and harassment, became agitated, banged his fist on the table, and stated that someone was “going to pay for this.” After the meeting, the manager conferred with Coca-Cola Human Resources and security personnel about this seeming threat against employees.
The employer required Owusu-Ansah to undergo a mental health fitness-for-duty examination. Owusu-Ansah underwent the examination and was released to return to duty. Despite his reinstatement, he sued alleging that the requirement that he undergo the fitness for duty examination violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Dismissing the claim, the federal Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that the ADA allows a medical examination that is job related and consistent with business necessity. The court held that Coca-Cola had a reasonable, objective concern about the employee’s mental state which potentially threatened the safety of other employees.