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United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
September 9, 2022, Argued; October 25, 2022, Decided
[*791] Hamilton, Circuit Judge. Plaintiff-appellant Larry Tate has worked for the Sheriff of Cook County in the Department of Corrections since 2007. In his third year as a correctional officer, Tate suffered a back injury. He returned to work under medical restrictions that required him to "avoid situations in which there is a significant chance of violence or conflict." After Tate was promoted to sergeant, the Sheriff's Office agreed to accommodate this medical restriction by allowing him to work in the Classification Unit, where the possibility of violence or physical conflict was relatively remote.
[*792] But when Tate sought a promotion to lieutenant, he was told that the Sheriff [**2] could not accommodate him in that position. Correctional lieutenants had to be "able to manage and [defuse] regular, violent situations involving inmates." Since Tate's medical restrictions would prevent him from performing this essential function, the Sheriff's Department said, he would remain a sergeant. Tate sued for alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Illinois Human Rights Act. On cross-motions for summary judgment, the district court found that the undisputed facts show that responding to inmate violence in emergencies is an essential function for lieutenants, so Tate was unable to perform the essential functions of the job he sought. Tate v. Dart, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159684, 2021 WL 3737728 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 24, 2021). Although the district court's opinion was too deferential to the employer's views about which job functions are essential, we agree with the court's bottom line and affirm.
I. Facts for Summary Judgment
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
51 F.4th 789 *; 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 29619 **
LARRY TATE, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. THOMAS J. DART, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 1:17-cv-08888 — John F. Kness, Judge.
accommodation, essential function, inmate, emergencies, summary judgment, restrictions, violence, violent, affirming, promotion, district court, responding, physical force, disability, seniority, team, emergency situation, argues, Corrections, incumbents, settlement, defuse, disruptive behavior, job description, public safety, performing, bridge, collective bargaining agreement, genuine dispute, use of force
Civil Procedure, Judgments, Summary Judgment, Burdens of Proof, Appellate Review, Standards of Review, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Genuine Disputes, Burdens of Proof, Nonmovant Persuasion & Proof, Business & Corporate Compliance, Discrimination, Disability Discrimination, Reasonable Accommodations, Labor & Employment Law, Scope & Definitions, Qualified Individuals With Disabilities, Labor & Employment Law, Accommodation, Reasonable Accommodations, Reassignments & Transfers