August 11, 2020

Volume X, Number 224

August 11, 2020

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August 10, 2020

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ADA – Accommodation – Disabilities

Given the restrictions, the plaintiff was unable to return to work to perform the functions of his position. The plaintiff offered as a reasonable accommodation to work only sedentary jobs such as a rink attendant or to have another employee assist him. However, the municipality determined that such an accommodation was not reasonable and terminated the plaintiff’s employment. The plaintiff then brought suit alleging a violation of the ADA.

The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the municipality, and the Eighth Circuit upheld that decision. The Eighth Circuit ruled that the plaintiff was never able to demonstrate that he could perform the essential functions of the position with or without a reasonable accommodation. Additionally, the accommodations proposed by the plaintiff were not reasonable. “The ADA does not require an employer to create a new position or to eliminate or reallocate essential job functions in accommodating an employee with a disability.” Id. at page 4. Furthermore, the plaintiff’s contention that he could still perform all of the functions of the position, which was in contrast to the plaintiff’s physician’s report, did not need to be accepted by the employer. “The ADA does not require an employer to permit an employee to perform a job function that the employee’s physician has forbidden.” Id.

In short, although the ADA Amendments Act changed the definition of a disability, it did not change the need for a disabled employee to come forward with an accommodation that is reasonable. Simply proposing to work in some other capacity or coming forward with a work-around that is not connected to the position is not reasonable and can be rejected by an employer. The proposed accommodation must still permit the employee to perform the essential functions of the position.

©2020 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. All rights reserved. National Law Review, Volume II, Number 211


About this Author

Eric Sigda, Greenberg Traurig Law Firm, New York, Labor and Employment Law Attorney

Eric B. Sigda is a shareholder in Greenberg Traurig’s Labor & Employment Practice. He represents management in litigating federal and state employment matters including claims involving allegations of discrimination, harassment, whistleblowing, Sarbanes-Oxley retaliation, breach of contract, wage and hour class actions, misappropriation of trade secrets and violations of restrictive covenants. Eric has handled matters in federal and state courts and in arbitration. He has also represented clients before various agencies including the Equal Employment Opportunity...