April 2020 - Parks & Recreation - 37

grave of a disciplinary action " under the circumstances. The court,
however, found " an employer's
decision that an incident is serious
enough for a given disciplinary action " would not support an inference of pretext to discrimination
on the basis of disability in violation of the ADA.

Retaliation
In addition to pretext, the court
also considered Mullen's claim that
the Township's decision was motivated by " retaliation " for his having taken medical leave. As cited
by the court, Mullen would have to
show the following to establish his
claim of retaliation by the Township in violation of the ADA:
(1) protected employee activity;
(2) adverse action by the employer
either after or contemporaneous
with the employee's protected activity; and (3) a causal connection
between the employee's protected
activity and the employer's adverse action.
To establish the required " causal connection " for retaliation, the
court acknowledged: " a plaintiff
usually must prove either (1) an
unusually suggestive temporal
proximity between the protected
activity and the allegedly retaliatory action, or (2) a pattern of
antagonism coupled with timing
to establish a causal link. " In the
absence of such proof, according
to the court, a plaintiff could still
demonstrate retaliation if " evidence gleaned from the record
as a whole " would necessarily
" infer causation. " According to
the court, such evidence could
include: " any intervening antagonism by the employer, inconsistencies in the reasons the employ-

er gives for its adverse action, and
any other evidence suggesting
that the employer had a retaliatory animus when taking the adverse action. "
In this particular instance, the
court found Mullen had failed to
establish that his termination was
in retaliation for him having taken medical leave. In so doing, the
court once again found " the temporal proximity between Mullen's
medical leave to recover for knee
surgery and his termination is not
unduly suggestive. " Moreover, the
court noted, " Mullen has not alleged a pattern of intervening antagonism by the Township. "

Conclusion
Having determined that Mullen
had failed to " demonstrate the
existence of essential elements of
his various discrimination and retaliation claims " under the ADA,
the federal district court held the
Township was entitled to summa-

The court found " the temporal
proximity between Mullen's
medical leave to recover
for knee surgery and his
termination is not unduly
suggestive. " Moreover, the
court noted, " Mullen has not
alleged a pattern of intervening
antagonism by the Township. "
ry judgment, effectively dismissing
Mullen's lawsuit:
While one might find the Township's action unforgiving, Mullen has not adduced evidence to
demonstrate that it was illegal.
The Township is therefore entitled
to summary judgment.
James C. Kozlowski, J.D., Ph.D., is an Attorney and Associate
Professor in the School of Sport, Recreation, and Tourism
Management at George Mason University (jkozlows@gmu.edu).
Webpage with link to law review articles archive (1982 to
present): mason.gmu.edu/~jkozlows.

PA R K S A N D R E C R E AT I O N .O R G | A P R I L 2 02 0 |

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April 2020 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of April 2020 - Parks & Recreation

April 2020 - Parks & Recreation - 1
April 2020 - Parks & Recreation - 2
April 2020 - Parks & Recreation - 3
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