School District Employee May Have Been Discriminated Against On The Basis Of A Disability – Discrimination, Disability & Sexual Harassment

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Price v. Victor Valley Union High Sch.
, 2022 WL 16845113 (Cal. Ct. App. 2022)

La Vonya Price worked as a part-time substitute special
education aide at the Victor Valley Unified School District before
applying for a full-time position. Although she received an offer
for a full-time position, it was contingent upon her passing a
physical exam, which she failed. Price sued for disability
discrimination and related claims. The trial court granted the
District’s motion for summary judgment, but the Court of Appeal
reversed in part. The appellate court rejected the District’s
argument that Price was not qualified to perform the job because
she failed the physical examination and was unable to perform the
essential functions of the job, such as running after students. The
Court disagreed that running after students was an essential
function of a full-time instructional assistant’s job
especially given that Price worked in the same position in a
part-time capacity before being offered a full-time position. Price
also established that she could have been placed in a setting where
special needs students do not require any physical assistance or
supervision. Further, the Court determined that the comment
(repeated four times) from the District’s Director of
Classified Personnel that Price was “a liability” created
a triable issue of material fact as to whether the District’s
stated reasons for rescinding the job offer were pretextual. The
Court also held that the District was under no obligation to engage
in the interactive process with Price because her disability,
resulting limitations, and necessary reasonable accommodations were
not open and obvious (she denied having a disability or any
limitations), which meant that she had the initial burden to
initiate the interactive process and request a reasonable
accommodation. Finally, the Court held that the retaliation claim
was properly dismissed because the decision to terminate her
employment was made before she allegedly engaged in any protected

School District Employee May Have Been Discriminated Against On The
Basis Of A Disability

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