Overview: In Joyce v. CSX Transportation, the MCAD found in favor of the Complainant, awarding six years of back pay and considerable emotional distress damages for a disability-based discrimination claim. The 66-year-old Complainant, who was a conductor with the Respondent transportation company, suffered from cognitive disabilities such as ADHD and depression. He charged his employer with denying him a reasonable accommodation in requiring him to use an administrative computer system with which he had a great deal of difficulty.
In finding a failure to accommodate, the hearing officer reasoned that the Complainant’s requests for accommodation were fairly straightforward. The Respondent’s assertion that it had no knowledge of the Complainant’s disabilities was deemed not credible. The hearing officer held the Respondent liable under the “cat’s paw” theory of discrimination, finding a supervisor with discriminatory animus who influenced the decision to take disciplinary action against the Complainant, action which was deemed pretext for discrimination.