United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division
T. TREADWELL, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Cynthia Chesnut filed suit against Defendant CC Services,
(“CCS”) alleging violations of the American with
Disabilities Act and Fair Labor Standards Act. Doc. 24. CCS
moved to dismiss her failure-to-accommodate claim because she
did not exhaust her administrative remedies. Doc. 28. For the
following reasons, that motion (Doc. 28) is
in 2013, Chesnut was employed by CCS as an Employee Financial
Representative and reported to CCS Manager Michael Sehringer.
Doc. 24 ¶¶ 5, 12, 13. In September 2015, Chesnut
“was a witness to, and was within a close proximity of,
her husband when he took his own life by gunfire
(hereinafter, ‘traumatic event').”
Id. ¶ 18. Until that time, Chesnut's job
performance was “exemplary.” Id.
¶¶ 16, 41. “Within approximately two months
of the traumatic event, Ms. Chesnut remained grief-stricken
and emotionally raw, and it became clear to her that her
performance was suffering as a result.” Id.
November 2015, Chesnut met with Sehringer to discuss her job
performance and request an accommodation. Id. ¶
26. Sehringer refused to grant Chesnut an accommodation.
Id. ¶ 27. Chesnut then told Sehringer that she
was going to meet with his supervisor, Tim Richardson,
regarding possible accommodations and asked Sehringer to
attend. Id. ¶¶ 28, 30. Sehringer
“became angry” when Chesnut told him she
contacted Richardson, but he ultimately met with them.
Id. ¶¶ 29, 30. After Richardson denied
Chesnut's request for an accommodation, Chesnut contacted
CCS Leave of Absence Administrator Janine Schiebel and
requested short-term disability leave. Docs. 24 ¶¶
32, 33; 24-1 at 3. Chesnut was granted this request. Doc. 24
¶¶ 33, 34.
2016, Chesnut was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress
disorder, which caused her to have “distressing”
flashbacks and nightmares; emotional numbness; avoidance of
places, people, activities, and situations that remind her of
the traumatic event; and difficulty sleeping and
concentrating. Id. ¶¶ 37, 38.
Chesnut's coworkers, including Sehringer, witnessed
Chesnut experience emotional breakdowns “on several
occasions.” Id. ¶¶ 39, 40. New
policies, procedures, and job requirements that were
implemented after the traumatic event “exacerbated Ms.
Chesnut's PTSD[, ]” causing Chesnut to struggle to
meet her job benchmarks Id. ¶¶ 42, 43.
Chesnut asked Sehringer “on a number of
occasions” to transfer her to another office that was
smaller and had a less stressful environment as an
accommodation for her PTSD, but Sehringer denied these
requests. Id. ¶¶ 44, 45. Throughout this
time, Chesnut's pay was docked for failing to meet
certain benchmarks, and she spent time working at home or
after hours and was not paid overtime compensation.
Id. ¶¶ 49, 50.
November 2017, Chesnut was told that she would be terminated
due to her poor job performance, but she was not given an
exact date. Id. ¶¶ 47, 48. On November 20,
Chesnut could not access her computer, “and she sent a
text message inquiring as to the date of termination.”
Id. ¶ 48. Chesnut continued working until she
received a response two days later stating that she had been
terminated on November 20. Id.
January 2018, Chesnut filed a charge of disability
discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission. Doc. 30-1. In the body of her charge, she
I began my employment with the above-named employer as an
Insurance Financial Representative on October 15, 2013.
Management and Human Resources was informed of disabilities
in December of 2015 and January of 2016. On November 15,
2017, I was informed of my discharge by my supervisor, Mike
The reason given for my discharge was not meeting performance
I believe that I have been discriminated against because of
my disabilities, in violation of Title I of the Americans
with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended.
Id. After concluding its investigation, the EEOC
provided Chesnut with a Notice of Rights on July 31. Doc. 24
October 29, Chesnut, proceeding pro se, filed her
complaint in this Court alleging failure to accommodate,
hostile work environment, and disability discrimination. Doc.
1. After retaining counsel, Chesnut amended her complaint,
alleging (1) failure to accommodate; (2) disability
discrimination; (3) failure to pay minimum wage; and (4)
failure to pay overtime. Doc. 24 ¶¶ 54-89.
Specifically, Chesnut alleges that her “performance
would have greatly improved if she had been provided with an
accommodation” and that her pay would not have been
docked for failing to meet certain benchmarks. Id.
¶¶ 47, 49. CCS has moved to partially dismiss
Chesnut's complaint-specifically, her
failure-to-accommodate claim-for failing to exhaust her
administrative remedies. Doc. 28.
FAILURE TO ...