Gupton v. Commonwealth of Virginia
An employee sued the state agency where she worked for failing to provide her with a smoke-free workplace. She argued that the agency violated the federal Rehabilitation Act, a law prohibiting discrimination based on a person’s disability. After complaining about her allergy to tobacco smoke, the employee was assigned to a cubicle at least sixty feet from the nearest smoking area. The employee said she was still affected by the smoke. The court of appeals ruled that the employee did not establish that she was disabled under the federal law because her allergy to tobacco smoke did not substantially limit the major life activity of working. The court found that the employee did not present any evidence that her allergy prevented her from generally obtaining jobs in her field if they were smoke-free. The appeals court also agreed with the lower court that the employee’s claims for violation of due process and equal protection failed.