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Fear Not: Employees’ Phobias May Not Relieve Them of Essential Job Duties

From agoraphobia to xenophobia, employers should be well aware that there is a long list of phobias—including more common disorders such as social anxiety disorder—that can be considered disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Recently, however, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a $1.8 million jury verdict and ruled that a drug store chain did not violate the ADA when it terminated a pharmacist who suffered from trypanophobia—a fear of needles. The case, Stevens v. Rite Aid Corporation, No. 15-277(L) (2nd Cir. Mar. 21, 2017), arose from Rite Aid’s 2011 decision to require all pharmacists to give immunization injections to customers.
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