Submitted: February 13, 2019
from United States District Court for the Western District of
Missouri - Kansas City
SMITH, Chief Judge, BENTON and STRAS, Circuit Judges.
Dollar General denied Rochelle Garrison's request for a
leave of absence, she quit and sued for disability
discrimination and retaliation. We conclude that her
reasonable-accommodation claim under the Americans with
Disabilities Act can proceed, but that her others cannot.
was a lead sales associate at a Dollar General store in
Concordia, Missouri. Her immediate supervisor was Sandra
Bell, who, like Garrison, had a key to open and close the
store. The four "key holders" had to coordinate
their schedules so that at least one of them could be there
when the store opened and closed each day.
who suffers from anxiety, migraines, and depression, wished
to take a leave of absence due to her worsening medical
condition. At one point, following a visit to her doctor,
Garrison texted Bell and asked, "[h]ow can I request a
leave of absence[?]," to which Bell responded,
"I'm not sure [but] I'll talk to [the district
week later, Garrison followed up by texting Bell again. She
also asked about a rumor that she intended to quit, which
Bell had allegedly spread among her co-workers. Bell did not
initially respond, but Garrison was persistent. When Bell
finally texted back, she had three messages for Garrison:
"there [was] no [leave of absence]," she could
remain with Dollar General as long as she could "do the
job and not be sick all the time," and she should
"[r]ead the employee handbook."
and Bell later met in person. During the meeting, Garrison
made clear that she was seeking a leave of absence due to
anxiety and depression. Bell reiterated that she did not
believe that any form of leave was available and warned
Garrison that she could not remain a full-time employee or
continue as a key holder if she kept missing shifts.
following week, Garrison missed a shift due to an
emergency-room visit for gastritis and anxiety. She requested
vacation for the remainder of the week, but Bell refused
because two of the four key holders (including Bell herself)
were scheduled to be gone. Garrison then informed Bell that
she was quitting because it was the only way she could
"get better." Dollar General replaced Garrison with
someone Bell had hired about a week earlier, after the
subject of leave had come up.
sued Bell and Dollar General in Missouri state court. She
claimed that they discriminated against her under both the
Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and the
Missouri Human Rights Act ("MHRA"), interfered with
her ability to seek medical leave under the Family and
Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), and retaliated against
her for attempting to exercise her rights under each of these
laws. The defendants removed the case to federal district
court, which dismissed Garrison's lawsuit in its entirety
on summary judgment.
review the district court's decision to grant summary
judgment de novo." Tonelli v. United States, 60
F.3d 492, 494 (8th Cir. 1995). "Summary judgment is
appropriate when the evidence, viewed in a light most
favorable to the nonmoving party, shows no genuine issue of
material fact exists and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of ...