Last week, a jury for a federal court in Iowa awarded a former Upper Iowa University employee $1.1 million in back pay and damages. Lynne Seabrooke, 51, was a Registrar in the International Affairs office at the university and was fired. She successfully argued that the University failed to honor her requests for disability accommodation, in violation of the ADA. The ADA is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability.
Seabrooke stated that she was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. She argued that she requested a desk near a window offering more natural light, shorter work hours, and a change in duties based on her mental disabilities. In response to her requests, she claims that the University tripled her workload, denied her requests, and treated her worse than other Registrars at the University.
The University contends that Seabrooke never made a specific request as required by the ADA, and that she was fired because she verbally abused other employees. The University also claims that Seabrooke failed to provide the necessary medical documentation for an accommodation, and intends to appeal the decision.