Overview: In Diaz v. Ace Metal Finishing Inc., the MCAD found in favor of the Respondent industrial company and dismissed the complaint alleging termination of employment based on disability. The Complainant, who went out on a six-month medical leave when his chronic leg condition worsened, was laid off upon returning to work. The Respondent cited a decline in revenue, changes in the business model, and an ongoing conversion to a more complex process as legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for the Complainant’s termination.
The hearing officer concluded that it was likely the Respondent assumed that the Complainant was not returning and “made the determination to lay him off for legitimate reasons relating to its finances and change in business model” after being caught off-guard by the Complainant’s return. Even though the decision to lay off the Complainant appeared to have been precipitated by his seeking to return to work, the Complainant failed to establish the layoff was motivated by discriminatory animus.