Thursby v. City of Scranton

A former police officer with the City of Scranton filed a lawsuit under the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, alleging that the City had failed to accommodate her allergy to tobacco smoke by implementing a no-smoking policy where she performed her duties.  The City moved for summary judgment, arguing that Thursby is not disabled under the ADA, that the City did reasonably accommodate her when it provided her with a no-smoking room outside police headquarters and that implementing a no-smoking policy was unreasonable because it would violate the collective bargaining agreement between the police union and the City.  The Court found that Thursby suffers from rhinosinusitis, which impairs her ability to breathe; thus, she is disabled under the ADA.  The Court also ruled that “the evidence is sufficient to allow a jury to decide that she is substantially limited in her ability to breathe due to her allergy to tobacco smoke.”    Similarly, the Court ruled that she has “presented sufficient evidence for a jury to find that the City failed to reasonably accommodate her disability.”  Finally, since “the City has not presented any evidence that it attempted to negotiate a nonsmoking policy with the police union,” the Court ruled that “it cannot be concluded that implementation of a non-smoking policy was an unreasonable accommodation.”  So, the defendant’s motion for summary judgment is denied.

2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33475, 18 Am. Disabilities Cas. 21 (U.S.D.C.  M.D. Penn. 2006).