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Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters v. Berglund Construction Co.

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

December 19, 2013



RONALD A. GUZMAN, District Judge.

On September 13, 2013, the Court granted defendant's motion for summary judgment and denied plaintiffs' motion on Casper's ADEA claim and the Union's claim that defendant violated § 12112(d) of the ADA. ( See Mem. Op. & Order (Sept. 13, 2013).) Plaintiffs do not take issue with the ruling on the ADEA claim but contend that the Court wrongly construed the ADA claim and ask the Court to reconsider its ruling on that claim. The Court agrees, and thus revisits the ADA claim in Count II.


Viewed favorably to plaintiffs, the record shows that Casper worked for Berglund from 2007 until November 2009, when he was laid off for lack of work. (Pls.' LR 56.1(b)(3)(B) Stmt. ¶ 34.)

In April 2008, Berglund implemented a policy that states "all persons applying for employment in Illinois for field positions will be required to successfully complete a functional employment test." (Def.'s LR 56.1(a) Stmt., Ex. 7, Policy Regarding Post Offer Pre-Hire Tests.)

The policy does not define "field positions" or "persons applying for employment." ( See id. ) However, defendant states that anyone who has not "be[en] a Berglund employee" for sixty days, is subject to the policy. (Def.'s LR 56.1(a) Stmt. Ex. 3, Geshwender Dep. at 18-19.)

In June 2010, Daniel Nyblom, who was managing a Berglund job at the Dirksen Courthouse, asked another Berglund manager, Dave Kordeck, for more carpenters and specifically requested that plaintiff Casper be hired. (Def.'s LR 56.1(a) Stmt., Ex. 2, Nyblom Decl. ¶¶ 2-9.) Kordeck called Casper and told him to go to Accelerated Rehabilitation Center ("Accelerated")[1] for an evaluation and then "report to Berglund's offices immediately after... for orientation and to begin work." ( Id., Ex. 1, Kordeck Decl. ¶¶ 9-11; see Def.'s LR 56.1(a) Stmt., Ex. 9, Casper Dep. at 34-35 (testifying that Kordeck told him, "[Y]ou got to take this test, .... [a]nd after you're done, come to the office for an orientation and we'll get you going.").) Nyblom and Kordeck say they "intended for Casper to begin work immediately at the Dirksen job if he successfully completed" the Accelerated evaluation. (Def.'s LR 56.1(a) Stmt., Ex. 1, Kordeck Decl. ¶ 12; id., Ex. 2, Nyblom Decl. ¶ 10.)

On June 28, 2010, Casper went to Accelerated, filled out some paperwork and was given a drug test. (Pls.' LR 56.1(a) Stmt. ¶¶ 5-6.) He was then examined by Paul Sullivan, a physical therapist, and Brian Conroy, an athletic trainer, who tested, among others things, Casper's lifting ability. ( Id. ¶¶ 7, 10-13.) To "pass" the lifting portion of the test, Casper had to lift 94 pounds safely. ( See Def.'s LR 56.1(a) Stmt., Ex. 8, Carpenter Job Specific Task List.) Though plaintiffs disagree with his conclusion, there is no dispute that Sullivan believed Casper could not safely lift over 68 pounds. (Def.'s LR 56.1(a) Stmt., Ex. 4, Sullivan Dep. Feb. 25, 2013 at 120; Pls.' LR 56.1(a) Stmt., Sullivan Dep. Mar. 21, 2013 at 188-89.)

After Casper left Accelerated, he went directly to Berglund's main office with his hard hat and safety glasses. (Def.'s LR 56.1(a), Ex. 9, Casper Dep. at 72-73) He assumed he would fill out some paperwork, learn about the Dirksen job and immediately start work. ( Id. at 72.) When he arrived, however, Kordeck's assistant told plaintiff he had not passed the Acceleration test. ( Id. at 73-75.) Casper asked Kordeck what part of the test he had failed and what he had to do to pass it. ( Id. at 76-77.) Kordeck said Accelerated did not break the test results down but simply told Berglund it whether someone had passed or failed. ( Id. at 77.) He also told Casper that he would have to wait sixty days to be retested. ( Id. )

Sixty days later, when Casper called about retesting, Kordeck said Berglund was no longer hiring. ( Id. at 84.)


The Union alleges that Berglund's use of the Accelerated test is a pre-offer medical test prohibited by the ADA.[2] See 42 U.S.C. § 12112(d)(2) (barring an employer from "conduct[ing] a medical examination or mak[ing] inquiries of a job applicant as to whether [he] is an individual with a disability"). However, an employer may, after offering an applicant a job, require him to take a medical exam and make the job offer contingent on his passing it, as long as the employer requires all entering employees in the same job category to do so as well. See 42 U.S.C. § 12112(d)(2), (3); 29 C.F.R. § 1630.14(b). Plaintiffs contend that Berglund had not made a "real" job offer to Casper before sending him to Accelerated, and thus the post-job offer exception does not apply.

"For purposes of § 12112(d)(3), a job offer is real if the employer has evaluated all relevant non-medical information that it reasonably could have obtained and analyzed prior to giving the offer." O'Neal v. City of New Albany, 293 F.3d 998, 1008 (7th Cir. 2002) (quotations omitted). "Accordingly, if a job offer is conditioned not only on the applicant successfully passing a medical examination but also a myriad of non-medical screening tests, the offer is not real." Id. Viewed favorably to plaintiffs, there is no evidence that suggests Berglund's offer was not real. On the contrary, it is undisputed that Nyblom, Kordeck and Casper, who took his safety equipment with him when he reported to Berglund after the Accelerated test, all believed that Casper would be put to work immediately. Plaintiffs have not, therefore, created a triable fact issue as to the authenticity of Berglund's pre-testing job offer to Casper.

Even if the job offer was real, the Union argues that the exception still does not apply because Berglund did not require all entering employees to take the Accelerated test. Plaintiffs contend that Berglund hired 68 Union members who had one or more breaks in service of 60 days without requiring them to undergo testing, as demonstrated by plaintiffs' summary of hiring and test dates. ( See Pls.' LR 56.1(a) Stmt., Summ. Hire & Test Dates.) However, plaintiffs' summary does not show any service breaks for eight of the people listed (Richard Anderson, Tyler Anderson, Michael Buchholz, Tom Higgins, Ewald Leschkles, Richard Stephens, Larry Vick and Kyle Whisker) and defendant offers uncontradicted evidence that seven others (Ronald Ammons, James Ballard, Stephanie Berglund, Martin Burba, Eric Green, Richard Micklow and Jay Patz) did not work as carpenters, and thus were not subject to the testing policy. ( See id.; Def.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt., Ex. 5, Table of Hires; id., Ex. 7, Geshwender Decl. ¶¶ 7-12.) As to the 53 remaining carpenters that plaintiffs contend should have been tested, defendant offers uncontradicted evidence that: (1) many of them had one or more service breaks of 60 days or less;[3] (2) others had service breaks that occurred before the testing policy went into effect;[4] (3) some of the 60 day service breaks reflect retroactive pay adjustments;[5] and (4) many of the employees with 60 day service breaks were, in fact, tested by Accelerated.[6] That leaves twenty-two carpenters who had one or more bona fide 60 day service breaks[7] that Berglund rehired without testing.[8], [9] Because the record suggests that Berglund did not apply the testing policy to all incoming carpenters, there is a genuine (break from 9/25/11 to 4/8/12), Jerry Rhodes (break from 12/12/10 to 3/6/11), Shiloh Rhodes (break from 12/12/10 to 3/27/11), Norge Roi (break from 1/10/10 to 4/11/10), ...

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