Belmarez v. Craig’s Pro-Cuts, Inc.

A woman who alleges that she suffers from an asthma disability that requires that she work in a smoke-free environment filed a lawsuit under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).  She claims that she was subjected to discrimination and retaliation in violation of the ADA.  The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, alleging that Belmarez is not a “qualified individual with a disability” and thus not qualified for ADA protection and that she was fired for insubordination.  The court (Fitzwater, J.) denied the motion for summary judgment, ruling that Belmarez had adduced evidence “that the reason for her termination was pretext and that she was fired for complaining about smoking in the workplace.”  The court also ruled that her retaliation claim may proceed and that, since Belmarez testified that after informing her new supervisor of her breathing condition, the supervisor responded that she would smoke wherever she wanted and that “after that everybody kept smoking,” a reasonable trier of fact could “find that, during this period, Pro-Cuts denied Belmarez a reasonable accommodation” to her disability.

1998 U.S.Dist. LEXIS 19845 (U.S.D.C. N.D.Tex. 1998).