Rohr v. Salt River Project Agric. Improvement & Power Dist., 2009 WL 349798 (9th Cir. 2009)

Larry Rohr, an insulin-dependent type 2 diabetic, brought suit for employment discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The district court granted the employer’s motion for summary judgment on the grounds that he failed to raise a material issue of fact concerning whether he had a disability within the meaning of the ADA and because of his inability to complete a certification test, which rendered him unqualified for his position as a welding metallurgy specialist. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the judgment, holding that “diabetes is a ‘physical impairment’ because it affects the digestive, hemic and endocrine systems, and eating is a ‘major life activity.’” Further, the Court held that Rohr had raised a genuine issue of material fact as to whether he is “significantly restricted as to the condition, manner or duration” in which he can eat, compared to the general population. (Although the Court did not have to decide whether the ADA Amendments Act (“ADAAA”), which became effective on January 1, 2009, applied to this case, it noted that the ADAAA “sheds light on Congress’ original intent when it enacted the ADA.”) Finally, the Court held that Rohr also raised a genuine issue as to whether he was “qualified” for his position within the meaning of the ADA, “since with the exception of the respirator certification requirement, which may itself be found to be discriminatory, he provided sufficient evidence that he satisfied all of Salt River’s job-related requirements and could perform the essential functions of his position.”

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Photo of Tony Oncidi Tony Oncidi

Anthony J. Oncidi is the co-chair of the Labor & Employment Law Department and heads the West Coast Labor & Employment group in the firm’s Los Angeles office.

Tony represents employers and management in all aspects of labor relations and employment law, including…

Anthony J. Oncidi is the co-chair of the Labor & Employment Law Department and heads the West Coast Labor & Employment group in the firm’s Los Angeles office.

Tony represents employers and management in all aspects of labor relations and employment law, including litigation and preventive counseling, wage and hour matters, including class actions, wrongful termination, employee discipline, Title VII and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, executive employment contract disputes, sexual harassment training and investigations, workplace violence, drug testing and privacy issues, Sarbanes-Oxley claims and employee raiding and trade secret protection. A substantial portion of Tony’s practice involves the defense of employers in large class actions, employment discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination litigation in state and federal court as well as arbitration proceedings, including FINRA matters.

Tony is recognized as a leading lawyer by such highly respected publications and organizations as the Los Angeles Daily JournalThe Hollywood Reporter, and Chambers USA, which gives him the highest possible rating (“Band 1”) for Labor & Employment.  According to Chambers USA, clients say Tony is “brilliant at what he does… He is even keeled, has a high emotional IQ, is a great legal writer and orator, and never gives up.” Other clients report:  “Tony has an outstanding reputation” and he is “smart, cost effective and appropriately aggressive.” Tony is hailed as “outstanding,” particularly for his “ability to merge top-shelf lawyerly advice with pragmatic business acumen.” He is highly respected in the industry, with other commentators lauding him as a “phenomenal strategist” and “one of the top employment litigators in the country.”

“Tony is the author of the treatise titled Employment Discrimination Depositions (Juris Pub’g 2020; www.jurispub.com), co-author of Proskauer on Privacy (PLI 2020), and, since 1990, has been a regular columnist for the official publication of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the State Bar of California and the Los Angeles Daily Journal.

Tony has been a featured guest on Fox 11 News and CBS News in Los Angeles. He has been interviewed and quoted by leading national media outlets such as The National Law JournalBloomberg News, The New York Times, and Newsweek and Time magazines. Tony is a frequent speaker on employment law topics for large and small groups of employers and their counsel, including the Society for Human Resource Management (“SHRM”), PIHRA, the National CLE Conference, National Business Institute, the Employment Round Table of Southern California (Board Member), the Council on Education in Management, the Institute for Corporate Counsel, the State Bar of California, the California Continuing Education of the Bar Program and the Los Angeles and Beverly Hills Bar Associations. He has testified as an expert witness regarding wage and hour issues as well as the California Fair Employment and Housing Act and has served as a faculty member of the National Employment Law Institute. He has served as an arbitrator in an employment discrimination matter.

Tony is an appointed Hearing Examiner for the Los Angeles Police Commission Board of Rights and has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law and a guest lecturer at USC Law School and a guest lecturer at UCLA Law School.