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Reed Smith Attorney Alleges Disability Discrimination

Aaron Chase is suing Reed Smith, his former employer, for firing him. Chase contends that his termination was based on his disability and unlawful retaliation.

Chase was concussed in September 2019 after hitting his head on a car frame while on vacation. He returned to work not long after, advising his direct supervisor, Jennifer Achilles, of the injury. Chase claims that he conveyed to her “how concussions, unlike purely physical injuries, can make the afflicted person feel disconnected from his sense of self and impair one’s thinking.” Several days later, Chase stated that he was called into Achilles’s office regarding an error in one of his cases, and Achilles chastised him for other prior performance issues. Chase asserted that those prior issues had not previously been brought to his attention. In the lawsuit, Chase alleged that he told Achilles that the error was because of his concussion. However, Achilles purportedly responded that “It’s unfortunate that the thing that broke the camel’s back happened while you are suffering from a concussion, but you did basically the same thing a few months ago, so I don’t think it was the result of the concussion.”

On October 24, 2019, Chase went out on medical leave because his symptoms had become too severe. He was experiencing fogginess, trouble concentrating, headaches, and sensitivity to light. When he returned from leave on February 27th, Chase was informed that there was no work for him because other attorneys were handling it. He requested work from other supervisors but little work was assigned. He was fired on May 8, 2020, for performance issues. Reed Smith has denied the allegations that it discriminated, insisting that its personnel decisions are based on performance and productivity.