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11th Circuit

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the case D'Angelo v. ConAgra Foods Inc. Aug. 30, holding that a woman who suffered from vertigo can sue her former employer under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In 2001 ConAgra Foods Inc. fired Cris D'Angelo after she presented a note from her doctor stating D'Angelo couldn't perform certain tasks at the Tampa, Fla.-based seafood processing plant at which she was employed due to her vertigo condition. D'Angelo filed suit against ConAgra in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida alleging disability discrimination in violation of the ADA.

The court found that under the ADA, employers must provide reasonable accommodations to people who are regarded as disabled as well as those who are actually disabled.

D'Angelo, who began her job at the Tampa seafood plant in 1998, suffered from dizzying vertigo spells at the beginning of her employment. The spells subsided until she was promoted to the position of "product transporter." The position required her to stare at a continuously moving conveyer belt, which led to her feeling nauseated.

While the recent decision upholds that D'Angelo isn't actually disabled under the ADA, the court did find that there was sufficient proof that ConAgra regarded her as disabled, allowing her to sue her former employer.

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