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Unformatted text preview: owledge of that disability before 189 Dr. Pirl's decision to discharge her became final. This is an unreasonable inference in
light of the uncontroverted evidence produced [*19] by the Department.
Nonetheless, Zihala contends that Dr. Pirl's decision to discharge her was based on
manifestations of her mental illness. (Mem. Opp. at 7). Zihala has not cited, nor have we
discovered, any factual support for this contention. The record is bare of any evidence
that the problems Zihala was experiencing at work, as reflected in her discharge
evaluation and Dr. Pirl's testimony, were rooted in her "Pschoeffective disorder." And
even if Zihala produced such evidence, the Department would not be liable unless it had
reason to know that her work performance was connected to her disability. See Hedberg
v. Indiana Bell Tel. Co., 47 F.3d 928, 934 (7th Cir. 1995) (holding that an employer is not
"bound to retain all apparently tardy and lazy employees on the chance that they may
have a disability that causes their behavior."). Because Zihala has failed to produce any
such evidence, a jury would be left to speculate that her behavior on the job was
somehow connected to her mental illness. Unfortunately for Zihala, "speculation does not
create a genuine issue of fact." Hedberg, 47 F.3d at 932.
In summary, we find that the undisputed evidence establishes that the Department [*20]
discharged Zihala because of her poor work performance and disruptive behavior. The
discharge evaluation and Dr. Pirl's testimony establish that the Department believed that
Zihala was not meeting its legitimate expectations. Zihala has offered no evidence to
rebut this evidence. The undisputed evidence also establishes that the Department
discharged Zihala based on Dr. Pirl's recommendation. At the time he decided to
recommend that the Department discharge Zihala, Dr. Pirl neither had knowledge of
Zihala's alleged disability nor did he have reason to believe that Zihala's poor work
performance and disruptive behavior were the result of a disability. Based on these
undisputed facts, there is no evidence from which a reasonable jury could conclude that
the Department discharged Zihala because of...
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This note was uploaded on 09/30/2012 for the course ENC 102 taught by Professor Deria during the Spring '08 term at FIU.
- Spring '08