Arteaga v. Brink’s, Inc., 163 Cal. App. 4th 327 (2008)

Brink’s employee Carlos Arteaga was the subject of an internal investigation into various shortages totaling $7,668 that occurred while he was acting in his capacity as an ATM messenger. The investigation was conducted after one of Arteaga’s managers noticed there had been 16 shortages in five months on runs in which Arteaga had been the messenger. Shortly after he learned of the investigation, Arteaga informed Brink’s for the first time that he was feeling a combination of “pain” and “numbness” in his arms, fingers, shoulders and feet and that he was feeling “stress” after being “accused over and over of stealing money.” Arteaga filed a workers’ compensation claim. Following the investigation, Arteaga’s employment was terminated as a result of the multiple shortages. Arteaga then sued Brink’s for disability discrimination and for failure to engage in a good-faith interactive process with him in order to determine effective reasonable accommodations for his alleged disability. The trial court granted summary judgment to Brink’s, and the Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that (1) Arteaga was not disabled because his symptoms (pain and numbness) did not make it difficult for him to achieve the life activity of working and (2) Brink’s terminated him for a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason – “the closeness in time between Arteaga’s disclosure of his symptoms and his subsequent termination does not create a triable issue as to pretext, especially since his performance had been questioned before he disclosed his symptoms, and he was eventually terminated for those performance issues.” Compare Gribben v. United Parcel Serv., 528 F.3d 1166 (9th Cir. 2008) (employee with congestive heart failure and cardiomyopathy may have been disabled under the ADA, but was not retaliated against).