The guy who was fired for peeing in a cup in front of his co-worker claims disability discrimination

peecup.JPGI’m pretty sure Larry David had this written into the Seinfeld Parking Garage episode before making a last-minute script change to uromysitis.

I would have stuck with the former. But, Mr. David is a comedic genius and I just write this crappy blog. 

How bad is this blog, you ask? I was contemplating using the words “wicked pissah” in the lede, only to realize that I’d already used them.

Then again, you’re the ones reading this. Go ahead. Click through to read more after the jump…

* * *

From parking garages and New England slang to workplace water sports, last night, I was reading this case about an employee who claims to suffer from “urinary urgency.” After he was fired for urinating in a cup in front of one of his co-workers, rather than using the good ol’ bathroom, he alleged discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

I’ll spare you all the details, but let’s just say that not only did he pee in a cup in a common area, he dribbled on the floor and, before fully cleaning up, stashed his piss cup under the kitchen sink.

Needless to say, the plaintiff soon found himself unemployed and, rather than wash his hands of this (see what I did there?), he sued for disability discrimination, claiming that his “urinary urgency” disability was the precise reason why his former employer fired him.

Now, I don’t mean to make light of a disability, but, what the plaintiff did here is nasty. And, as the court underscored, just because conduct for which the plaintiff was terminated may be traceable ultimately to his disability does not mean that he was discriminated against. This is especially true where the employer is unaware of the plaintiff’s disability, which the Court found to be the case here.

The same set of facts undermined the plaintiff’s failure to accommodate claim. That is, an employer can’t accommodate a disability about which it is not made aware. Moreover, knowing that he suffered from a quick bladder, the plaintiff could have taken matters into his own hands to avoid having to pee in a cup. The plaintiff, himself, acknowledged that Depends could have ameliorated the problem. Yet, he failed to use them. When an employee fails to take reasonable steps to treat his disability, he cannot recover under the ADA.

How could all of this have been avoided? I’m going with better communication between employee and employer to discuss workplace accommodations.

For more on how to go about addressing workplace accommodations, check out this guidance from the EEOC.