Yesterday, the First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Correctional Medical Services, Inc. (“CMS”) in favor of a former employee who alleged that CMS unlawfully retaliated against her. The former employee, Katherine Kelley, began working as a nurse for CMS at the Maine State Prison in the spring of 2007. In July, 2007, Kelley shattered her pelvis during a horseback riding accident. After she recovered from her shattered pelvis, Kelley was limited in her ability to walk, among other things. Due to these limitations, she requested various accommodations so that she could perform her job at the prison. Her supervisor, Theresa Kesteloot, repeatedly expressed hostility towards Kelley because of the accommodations she requested. Ultimately, Kesteloot fired Kelley after she became frustrated with Kelley’s requests for accommodations.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Maine Human Rights Act, an employer may not retaliate against an employee who requests an accommodation for a disability. The First Circuit held that a jury could reasonably find that Kesteloot engaged in this type of retaliation when she fired Kelley.