April 9, 2019
from the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. No. l:17-cv-01742
- William T. Lawrence, Judge.
Kanne, Barrett, and Brennan, Circuit Judges.
Barrett, Circuit Judge.
Graham, Jr., sued Arctic Zone Iceplex, his former employer,
for discrimination. According to Graham, Arctic Zone failed
to accommodate his disability and ultimately fired him for
it. The district court granted summary judgment to Arctic
Zone. We affirm.
December 2014, Arctic Zone hired Graham as its head mechanic
and maintenance supervisor. Graham's responsibilities
included maintaining Arctic Zone's ice rink and operating
its Zamboni, a machine that smooths the surface of ice on a
tenure at Arctic Zone was not without issues. Shortly after
he began working at the rink, Arctic Zone received customer
complaints about his attitude. And the customers were not the
only ones who noticed. Arctic Zone observed Graham's
attitude problems firsthand, as well as his difficulty
completing tasks on time. Arctic Zone did not write Graham
up, however, for either the insubordination or timeliness
issues at the time that they occurred.
February 2015, Graham was injured on the job. He did not work
from February to May of that year. During that time, he
received worker's compensation. Graham returned to work
in May with certain medical restrictions, including the
requirement that he work sitting down. In an effort to
accommodate him, Arctic Zone assigned Graham to the task of
skate sharpening. Arctic Zone asserts that skate sharpening
is a job that can be accomplished from a seated position;
Graham maintains that the task requires standing. Yet he did
not inform Arctic Zone of his belief that skate sharpening
did not meet his restrictions. He alleges that there were a
few times when he was caught sitting down to rest and was
told to get back to work.
in August 2015, Graham transitioned back to full-time work.
Arctic Zone assigned him to work evenings rather than during
the day, which it attributes to seasonal need. Graham
characterizes this as a "demotion" to the position
of "night mechanic."
October 2015, Graham caused a Zamboni accident. Arctic Zone
says that the accident resulted in "over two feet of
jagged plastic" protruding from the rink wall and onto
the rink itself. Arctic Zone suggests that the plastic was a
hazard to its customers.
Zone fired Graham on the day of the accident. It gave five
reasons for doing so in his Termination Notice. They can be
summarized as follows: (1) poor attitude about his change in
position; (2) poor attitude toward customers (citing customer
complaints); (3) lack of timeliness in completing his duties;
(4) insubordination with management; and (5) the Zamboni
accident, which put customers in danger and caused Arctic
Zone to lose revenue while the rink was being repaired.
sued Arctic Zone for discrimination in violation of the
Americans with Disabilities Act. See 42 U.S.C.
§ 12101. He alleged two violations: first, that Arctic
Zone failed to reasonably accommodate his disability; and
second, that it terminated him because of his disability. The