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Can A Court Force My Job To Give Me A Temporary Disability Accommodation?

by | Sep 12, 2022 | Disability Discrimination, Employment Discrimination, Employment Law, Federal Law Update |

What is the purpose of the ADA?

Disability Discrimination Lawyer Answer: The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) was enacted to allow disabled individuals equal access to the working world. As we all know, money doesn’t grow on trees, which means every capable person has to enter the work force at some point to survive in this world. To ensure access to the workforce for disabled individuals, the ADA includes a provision wherein disabled individuals can receive a reasonable accommodation at work. (Best Law Reads: ADA: Who is a Qualified Individual?; Can I Pick the ADA Accommodation I Want?; What Should Employees Know About Reasonable Accommodations?)

Today, I want to address the options for disabled employees when an employer has refused to give a reasonable accommodation. (Best Law Reads for Requesting a Reasonable Accommodation: How Do I Discuss A Reasonable Accommodation With My Employer?; Can I Switch My Disability Accommodation?; Disability Discrimination: A Simple Illustration of A Reasonable Accommodation). You may think you are SOL and have no other option than to quit your role, but this may not be the case. In some cases, if you bring a lawsuit for failure to reasonably accommodate, a judge may be able to step in early on in the process and offer a temporary solution.

What is a preliminary injunction?

Top Employee Rights Attorney Answer: A preliminary injunction is when a judge puts out a temporary block that prevents a party to a lawsuit from doing a specific act. Basically, it’s like the judge saying “freeze” during a game of Simon says. The game isn’t over, but everyone must stop doing what they are doing until the judge says something else.

For someone requesting a reasonable accommodation, a judge can issue a preliminary injunction preventing an employer from terminating an employee, from taking any action against an employee’s employment, or require a requested reasonable accommodation be provided until the legal matter can be resolved at a later date. i.e., in the infamous words of the first High School Musical movie, it will require the employer to “stick to the status quo.”

Why would I want a preliminary injunction at my job?

Best Employment Lawyer Answer: Because nothing in law is fast. Bringing a lawsuit can take months and sometimes even years. A lot can happen during that time. A preliminary injunction can be a way for some immediate relief while you wait for the final outcome. It is like eating a snack while making dinner. The snack isn’t meant to resolve your hunger. It is just meant to relieve some of the hunger until the actual meal.

What is an example where a preliminary injunction has been awarded?

Let’s look at Bartell v. Grifols Shared Services NA, Inc., Interstate Blood Bank Inc., and Biomat, USA, Inc., 2022 WL 3359304 (N.C.M.D. August 15, 2022), as an example of a preliminary injunction being awarded in a failure to reasonably accommodate and disability discrimination matter.

Emily Bartell is blind and relies on a service-dog to navigate her surroundings. (Best Law Reads: Can I bring My Dog To Work As An ADA Accommodation?). During the time leading up to her lawsuit, Emily had been a regular plasma donor for Interstate Blood Bank Inc. (“IBBI”) at their plasmapheresis donation center (“PDC”) since August 2019. In December 2020, Grifols Shared Services NA, Inc. (“Grifols”), acquired IBBI, and a policy change went into effect that prevented Emily from bringing her service dog with her on the donor floor. This required Emily to use a cane instead, which was not as effective as her service dog and caused her to bruise. As a result of the policy change, Emily brought suit for disability discrimination in the United States District Court in the Middle District of North Carolina.

After hearing the facts of Emily’s situation, the arguments by both sides of the lawsuit, and reviewing the evidence, the North Carolina District Court awarded Emily a preliminary injunction.  The preliminary injunction required IBBI and Grifols to “make accommodations to their policies to permit [Emily] to donate plasma while being assisted by her service animal.” This allowed Emily access to the donation center while the remainder of the court case played out. While not a long-term solution, it was still a win for Emily that day!

Now, while Bartell is not an employment case, it still applied the ADA – the same law that applies directly to disability accommodations and discrimination in the workplace. Therefore, the case makes clear that preliminary injunctions are available under the ADA.

How do I get a preliminary injunction?

Best Employment Lawyer Answer: If your employer has denied you a reasonable accommodation, and now you feel your job is on the line, your best option is to call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation. (Read: What is the Spitz No Fee Guarantee?; Why Having Skilled Employment Attorneys Is Critical). Call our lawyers in Ohio, Michigan and North Carolina to get help now. Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm and its experienced attorneys are dedicated to protecting employees’ rights and solving employment disputes.

Disclaimer:

This employment law website is an advertisement. The materials available at the top of this Disability Discrimination page and at this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking, “how can I get a reasonable accommodation?”, “what do I do if my reasonable accommodation is denied?”, or thinking “I was fired for because my vision is impaired,” it would be best for to contact an experienced attorney to obtain advice with respect to any disability discrimination employment law issue or problem. 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, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.