United States District Court, D. Maine
ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
E. WALKER U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Trahan alleges her former employer, Wayfair Maine, LLC,
engaged in disability discrimination in violation of the
Maine Human Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities
Act, when it failed to accommodate her disability and
subsequently terminated her. Compl. ¶ 16 (ECF No. 1).
The matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment (ECF No. 14).
reasons discussed herein, Defendant's motion is granted.
Trahan began working for Wayfair Maine, LLC, on August 7,
2017, and served as a sales and service consultant in
Wayfair's Bangor call center. The call center has an open
floor plan and consultants sit close to one another.
Consultants frequently interact in the work place and rely on
each other for best practices, tips, and information.
Consultants are also organized into teams for group coaching
is a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder. When
“triggered, ” Trahan experiences flashbacks that
return her to a traumatic experience and shift her perception
of what is happening around her. Her flashbacks produce
emotional dysregulation and make her feel that people are out
to get her. When she started work with Wayfair, Trahan did
not disclose to Wayfair that she has PTSD or how it might
affect her employment.
her employment with Wayfair, Trahan was part of a training
team and three members of the team were “tight”
with each other but excluded Trahan from their social
activities. On one occasion, Trahan observed a chat session
and recognized her name. She believed the others were making
fun of her. She reported to her nesting coach, Thoma Noddin,
that she felt the three trainees were a clique and stated
that “they were affecting certain things to come out in
my life that I really didn't want to come out.”
Trahan Dep. 54:23-25. She inquired when the trainee nesting
period would end so she could part ways with them and join a
approximately a month at work, Trahan sought assistance from
a trainer named Matt. Trahan perceived Matt's tone as
overbearing and felt uncomfortable when he touched her arm.
Trahan expressed her frustration with Matt and left for the
bathroom, where she processed a flashback triggered by her
interaction with Matt. When Noddin entered the bathroom to
check on her, Trahan explained that she had a PTSD flashback
and needed time to process through it. The record does not
indicate what, if anything, Noddin may have done with this
later date, Trahan had an unpleasant exchange with a coworker
named Brianna, one of the three clique members, who chimed in
to answer an inquiry Trahan directed at a different coworker
named Ashley, another member of the clique. Although Brianna
supplied useful information to Trahan, Brianna used a tone
Trahan regarded as demeaning. This annoyed Trahan and
Trahan's reaction (“I was not talking to you, mind
your own business”) drew a further response (“I
was only trying to help”). This interaction ended with
Trahan calling her coworkers bitches, throwing her headset,
and slamming down her cell phone before walking
Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 29. (Plaintiff denies pounding her
fists on her desk and storming off, but admits throwing the
headset, slamming down her phone, and walking off. Pl.'s
Stmt. ¶¶ 29, 108.) After this episode of emotional
dysregulation, Trahan reached out via Skype to Joselin
Belanger, her manager, to inquire when she would move to a
different desk and team because she would prefer to move away
from certain coworkers.
when managers learned of a conduct issue on the floor, site
manager Peter Boudreaux instructed Kristie Foster, another
manager, to investigate. The investigation included a
sit-down talk with Trahan, attended by Foster and Belanger.
Trahan acknowledged that she called her coworkers bitches,
but stated that one of them had snapped at her. Trahan stated
that she was sick of the clique the others had, that they
were always talking about her, and that they were a
“bunch of bitches.” Trahan asked to be moved to a
different location through a team change and told Foster and
Belanger she had previously reported to Noddin that she had
trouble with these coworkers. During the meeting, Trahan sat
with her arms crossed and rolled her eyes repeatedly, which
Foster considered very rude and unprofessional. Trahan
maintains her conduct was the product of a panic attack
triggered by the confrontational meeting. Trahan did not
suggest to either Foster or Belanger that she was
experiencing a psychiatric event at the time.
speaking with the other workers involved in the incident, and
with Matt about his interaction with Trahan, Foster brought
the matter to Jonie Dunivan, Wayfair's local talent (HR)
manager. Dunivan conferred with site manager Peter Boudreaux.
Dunivan and Boudreaux agreed that Trahan should be sent home
for the day and Dunivan, Belanger, and Foster met with Trahan
to send her home. When she retrieved Trahan, Foster placed a
hand on her shoulder, “a huge trigger for Ms.
Trahan.” Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 121. Also, this meeting
was stressful for Trahan because it was a
“three-on-one.” Id. ¶ 122. Like
Foster, Dunivan was not impressed with Trahan's
comportment, as Trahan rolled her eyes, once more referred to
her coworkers as bitches, and did not offer any words of
personal accountability. After the meeting, Foster took
Trahan's badge, packed up Trahan's possessions at
Trahan's request, and escorted Trahan to the exit. Later
that afternoon, Boudreaux and Dunivan conferred and agreed
that Trahan would be terminated for violating Wayfair's
rules of conduct, which require that employees interact with
respect, integrity, courtesy and a cooperative attitude. They
also agreed that Dunivan would inform Trahan of their
decision in the morning.
that evening, Trahan called and left Dunivan the following
Hi Jonie, this is Kirstie Trahan and my extension was
1141199. And I forgot to tell you today that the reason I did
ask for that transfer of pod and out of that situation is
because I am a veteran with severe PTSD and how those girls
were treating me was causing triggers to come out in me. Umm,
and I do have documentation of that and I can provide any
further documentation you need like a DD-214 or records from
my therapist at Acadia. So if you could call me back that
would be great. My number is [555-5555].
listened to the voicemail the following morning. That was the
first time Dunivan was aware that Trahan attributed ...