Who does the ADA protect?
Best Employment Discrimination Lawyer Answer: The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) protects qualified employees with disabilities, perceived disabilities, or a record of having a disability. Under the ADA, a disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities. Major life activities include, but is not limited to, the ability to self-care, perform manual tasks, walk, see, hear, speak, breathe, learn and work. The effect on a major life activity is considered at peak of the active condition and not while the condition is in remission nor passive. The regarded as prong does not require proof of effecting a major life activity. The determination of whether a particular physical or mental impairment constitutes a disability as defined in the ADA necessitates a case-by-case evaluation.
How do you prove a failure to accommodate case under the ADA?
Best ADA Employment Rights Lawyer Answer: To establish the prima facie (initial) elements of a failure-to-accommodate claim, the employee must show that (1) she was disabled within the meaning of the ADA; (2) she was otherwise qualified for her position, with or without reasonable accommodation; (3) the employer knew or had reason to know about her disability; (4) she requested accommodation; and (5) the employer failed to provide the necessary accommodation. See Brumley v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., 909 F.3d 834, 839 (6th Cir. 2018). Unlike other discrimination claims, a failure to accommodate claim must be proved through a direct evidence framework, and not an indirect burden shifting framework.
What is a reasonable accommodation under the ADA?
Top Disability Discrimination Attorney Answer: In addition to the ADA prohibiting discriminatory practices against qualified employees with disabilities when it comes to hiring, promotions, pay, harassment, and termination, the ADA further requires employees to determine and provide a reasonable accommodation to assist such employees to perform their jobs. (Best Law Read: What Is The Interactive Process For Disabled Employees?; Can My Job Offer Be Pulled Because I Have A Medical Condition?). An employer violates the ADA by not engaging in the interactive process or “not making reasonable accommodations to the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or employee.” 42 U.S.C. § 12112(b)(5)(A). To be a reasonable accommodation, the request cannot cause an undue hardship on the employer. However, employers cannot establish an undue hardship by make generalized assertions and must instead present evidence of specific to the circumstances showing that the requested accommodation would cause significant difficulty or expense.
Can an employer take away or rescind an ADA accommodation that it already provided?
Best Work Disability Accommodation Lawyer Answer: An employer may not unilaterally revoke an already provided existing reasonable accommodation unless the employer can show that there has been a material change in circumstances that creates a new undue hardship. Where an employer has already provided an accommodation under the ADA, it has implicitly acknowledged that the employee is entitled to the accommodation; that such accommodation is reasonable; and that the accommodation does not cause an undue burden. To that end, unless there is a change in circumstances, the employer will have a difficult time avoiding the conclusion that it violated the ADA by stripping a disability employee of an existing accommodation.
On this point, in Isbell v. John Crane, Inc., 30 F. Supp. 3d 725, 734 (N.D. Ill. 2014), the United States District Court for or the Northern District of Illinois held:
Crane had already made a reasonable accommodation to enable Isbell to do her job—for some 2–1/2 years it had accommodated the later-starting work schedule that she had requested to meet her special needs for the performance of her job responsibilities. No real reason has been proffered by Crane as to why a new management broom … should be entitled to start by subjecting her to a one-size-fits-all timing sweep. … Because Crane had already made a reasonable accommodation a few years earlier when it permitted Isbell to start her workday at 10 a.m., the question becomes instead whether it was reasonable for Crane to withdraw that existing accommodation. Without evidence that Isbell’s later timetable was placing an undue burden on Crane, the answer to that question is plainly “no.”
(Best Law Read: Can A Schedule Change Be An ADA Accommodation?).
What is an example of an employer revoking a previously provided ADA accommodation?
Top Employment Discrimination Law Firm Answer: Marlo Spaeth worked as an associate at Walmart. Marlo has Down syndrome. As a result of her disability, Marlo needed to maintain a rigid daily schedule, including waking up, eating, and working at the same time. Failure to adhere to the rigid schedule resulted in very negative reaction for Marlo. As a result of identifying this condition and requesting an accommodation, Walmart allowed Marlo to work the same exact schedule every day for 15 years. Specifically, Marlo worked a four-hour shift weekday from noon to 4 p.m.
But Walmart switched to a computerized scheduling system, which it did not program to continue accommodating Marlo’s scheduling requirements. As a result, Walmart started giving Marlo a varying schedule. The new scheduling system also required Marlo to work later and longer shifts, cutting into her rigid dinner schedule. Marlo had a significant reaction trying to adapt to the forced changes in her set routine, which which in turn caused Marlo to have further disability issues and miss work.
When Walmart learned of the issues, it did not choose to either fix the computer programing to reinstitute the previously provided ADA accommodations nor excuse the absences as a further accommodation. Instead, Walmart rigidly applied its absenteeism policy and fired Marlo, who promptly sued for wrongful termination.
For its part, Walmart professed to trying to reasonably resolve the litigation through settlement but blamed the other side for being unreasonable. So, Walmart rolled the dice and tried the case to a jury.
After reviewing the above evidence and Marlo’s testimony of how the termination devastated her, the jury returned a verdict for Marlo in the amount of $150 million in punitive damages and another $150,000 in compensatory damages with back wages, future lost wages, fees, and costs still to be awarded. In addition to finding that Walmart failed to accommodate Marlo by returning her to her previous fixed schedule, the jury further decided that Walmart wrongfully refused to rehire Marlo because of her disability and her accommodation request.
While U.S. District Judge William Griesbach immediately cut the compensatory and punitive damages down to $300,000, it should be very clear that the jury did not buy what Walmart tried to sell.
The moral of the story is that if an employer can accommodate a disabled employee, it should do so; and should keep doing so.
What should I do about if the company I work for refuses to give me a disability accommodation to help me do my job?
Best Ohio Employment Lawyer Answer: The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) is a complex set of laws. Don’t try to figure it out on your own. If you are disabled and your employer rejects your request for a reasonable accommodation or, worse yet, wrongfully fires you, call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation with no risk (Read: What is the Spitz No Fee Guarantee?). Call our lawyers in Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo, Cincinnati, Youngstown and Detroit to get help now. Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm and its attorneys are experienced and dedicated to protecting disabled employees’ rights under ADA and Ohio employment law.
This employment discrimination law website is an advertisement. The materials available at the top of this ADA reasonable accommodation page and on this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking, “how do I get my job to give me a disability accommodation under the ADA?”, “Do I qualify as disabled under the ADA?”, “what should I do if my manager took away my ADA accommodation?” or “can my boss fired me for asking for a fixe schedule because of a medical condition?”, it would be best for you to contact an Ohio attorney to obtain advice with respect to disability discrimination questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm, attorney, Brian Spitz or any individual attorney.