Chan v. Sprint Corp.

An employee who works as a project manager for the defendant company brought an action under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), alleging that, as a person who suffers from mixed rhinitis, an allergic condition, she has not been provided a reasonable accommodation to protect her from exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke.  The company has a policy banning smoking in the buildings and limiting it outdoors to designated areas only; Chan claims that she has seen numerous examples of people smoking outside “wherever they please.”  Chan claims she has suffered pain in her eyes and headaches, as well as “secondary stress related issues,” such as sores in her mouth, abdominal pain and a rash, due to her exposure to the smoke.  The Court granted the company’s motion for summary judgment, ruling that Chan does not have a “disability” under the ADA because her breathing and seeing are not “substantially limited” by her impairment.  The Court noted that Chan “has never sought medical care during an episode or directly afterward.  She has never left work due to her condition, has never been hospitalized, and continues to participate in numerous activities of daily living” and “has not shown that she suffers any permanent or long-term impact from her impairment.”  Moreover, the Court ruled that, even if Chan were determined to have a disability, the company provided her with a reasonable accommodation, “including suggesting that Plaintiff use sidewalks and routes on the campus that do not pass by the designated smoking areas, schedule all meetings in her building or arrange to attend by teleconference, and do a percentage of work from her home by telecommuting.”

2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 532, 19.7 TPLR 2.471, 29 NDLR 160 (U.S.D.C. Kan. 2005).