Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Hoffman v. Zurich Financial Services

November 28, 2007

JENNIFER C. HOFFMAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ZURICH FINANCIAL SERVICES, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: George M. Marovich United States District Judge

Judge George M. Marovich

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Jennifer C. Hoffman ("Hoffman")*fn1 filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County a one-count complaint in which she alleged that defendant Zurich Financial Services ("Zurich") violated the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq., by failing to provide her with a reasonable accommodation. Defendant removed the case to this Court on the basis of federal question jurisdiction. Before the Court is defendant's motion for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants defendant's motion for summary judgment.

I. Background

The following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted.*fn2

In 2002 or 2003, plaintiff Hoffman injured her left arm when she tripped over a tow chain. The fall caused nerve damage to Hoffman's left arm. When she bent the arm for long periods of time, Hoffman experienced numbness and pain.

Despite the problem with her left arm, in October 2004, Hoffman accepted a full-time Payroll Analyst position with defendant Zurich Financial Services, a property and casualty insurer. As a Payroll Analyst, Hoffman was responsible for maintaining a manual check log, processing employee wage garnishments, pursuing the repayment of overpayments to employees and entering new hire data into the SAP system. SAP is computer software system that tracks, among other things, employee salaries, titles and promotions. At Zurich, access to SAP required a password and username. For the first approximately nine months that Hoffman worked for Zurich in the Payroll Analyst position, she was able to work full-time and felt that her duties kept her occupied on a full-time basis.

Notwithstanding her ability to work, Hoffman underwent surgery in June 2005 in an attempt to correct the nerve pain and numbness she sometimes experienced. The surgery left Hoffman unable to work for several months. While she recuperated, Hoffman took advantage of leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") and short-term disability.

Hoffman returned to work, on a part-time basis, in September 2005. At first, her physician allowed her to work two half-days per week. While at work, Hoffman used a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator ("TENS") machine to help rehabilitate her arm. Her physician-imposed restrictions were gradually modified to allow her to work longer hours and more days per week. In the meantime, other employees and other departments completed the remainder of plaintiff's work. During this period of time, Hoffman was also taking advantage of her accrued leave time, such that she continued to be paid as though she were a full-time employee.

Hoffman's surgery was successful in the sense that it corrected the numbness in her left arm. She was left, however, with the occasional shooting, pinching and burning pain in her arm. That pain tends to occur after she has bent her arm for long periods of time. Typing exacerbates the problem. Hoffman has found that taking ibuprofen sometimes relieves her pain. She has also found that stretching her arms out sometimes lessens the pain from pinching. The pain Hoffman experiences in her left arm is permanent in the sense that she will continue in the future to experience the pain sporadically.

Hoffman's symptoms do not otherwise interfere with her life. She is able to clean, dust, vacuum, bathe herself and walk her dogs without problems. Sometimes, when she mows her lawn or shovels snow, she experiences pain the next day. Hoffman is able to type continuously for half an hour without pain.

By January 2006, Hoffman's physician had released her to work four days per week in the office and one day per week at home. According to Hoffman, the reasons she could work the fifth eight-hour day only at home were that working at home: (1) eliminated the commute, which exacerbated her pain; and 2) allowed her to work with a laptop and, hence, type with her arms extended.

Based on her new restrictions, Hoffman asked her supervisor, Rochell Raymond ("Raymond"), if she could work four days in the office and a fifth day at home. Raymond initially approved Hoffman's request, and, for two weeks, Hoffman worked four days in the office and a fifth day at home.

But Raymond quickly learned that it was against Zurich's policy for Hoffman to work at home. Raymond learned that Zurich's policy allowed only certain employees to work from home. Specifically, only those employees who were exempt from the minimum wage and maximum hour requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") were allowed, under Zurich's policy, to work from home. Hoffman has put forth undisputed evidence that a number of Zurich's employees were allowed to work from home. Zurich has put forth undisputed evidence that each of those employees was an exempt employee. As Hoffman's Payroll Analyst position was a non-exempt position (for purposes of the FLSA), Zurich's policy did not allow her ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.