Police Officer with ADHD Not Limited Enough in Interactions with Others, 9th Cir. Decides

August 18, 2014 – In The News
Bloomberg BNA

Jeff Polsky was quoted in the Bloomberg BNA article “Police Officer with ADHD Not Limited Enough in Interactions with Others, 9th Cir. Decides.” While the full text can be found in the August 18, 2014, issue of Bloomberg BNA, a synopsis is noted below.

A former police officer with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) failed to show he is disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a divided U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held, overturning a lower court’s judgment for the officer (Weaving v. City of Hillsboro, 2014 BL 227440, 9th Cir., No. 12-35726, 8/15/14).

Weaving did not establish that his condition substantially limited him in interacting with others because the interpersonal problems he experienced were almost entirely with peers and subordinates, not with supervisors or the public.

The Hillsboro Police Department fired Weaving after an investigation concluded that his “tyrannical, unapproachable, noncommunicative, belittling, demeaning, threatening, intimidating, arrogant and vindictive” style created a hostile environment for other employees.

Polsky said the decision is “favorable to employers to the extent that it narrows the ability of employees to rely on alleged disabilities” to excuse unpleasant interactions with co-workers.

But there’s still a lack of clarity on the issue, Polsky said. “What employers really need,” he said, “is better guidance from the legislature or the courts on where to draw the line” for purposes of setting fair employment policies.

Polsky notes that the decision represents a break from circuit precedent.

“I was a little surprised,” Polsky said. Given that a jury had reached a verdict, the question should have been whether there was sufficient evidence and, if there was, the judgment should have been upheld, he said.