The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that innocent mistakes — goof-ups and miscommunications — can get an employer in trouble under the American with Disabilities Act if the mix-ups result in wrongly branding a worker unable to work.

In Taylor v. Pathmark Stores Inc., the court found that a worker who says he was wrongly “regarded as” disabled from working does not need to show negligence or malice to establish liability under the ADA, but instead may rely on proving that the misperception was the result of the employer’s innocent mistake, provided the employee himself is not responsible for the erroneous perception.

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