Quarrelling Lovers’ Unstable Behavior Not Enough To Warrant Employer’s Demand For Medical Examination

White Lake Ambulance Authority, in fair Michigan, where we lay our scene. The tiffs between two Emergency Medical Technicians, one married, and one not, stirred up action in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Emily Kroll was apparently infatuated with her coworker Joshua Easton, who was married. The pair frequently quarreled in person, via e-mail, text messages and phone calls. Ms. Kroll, who seemed to be the party most jolted by the arguments started exhibiting erratic behavior, including screaming and crying. Although most of Ms. Kroll’s unstable behavior took place outside of working hours, the Director of the Ambulance Authority for which the couple worked for grew concerned and ordered Ms. Kroll to seek counseling if she wanted to keep her job. Naturally, after she left the company, she sued.

After losing on summary judgment, Ms. Kroll appealed. The Sixth Circuit granted Ms. Kroll a jury trial and remanded. The reasoning? Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), an employer cannot require an employee to have a medical examination unless the examination is job-related and consistent with business necessity. Despite exhibiting some unstable behavior, including refusing to administer oxygen to a patient because she was told to do so by Mr. Easton, as well as talking on the phone while driving the ambulance, the Court found that Ms. Kroll’s erratic behavior did not meet the threshold for an employer-mandated medical examination.