A recent Wisconsin federal court decision serves as a victory for those
discriminated against due to depression. In
Ekstrand v. School Dist. of Somerset, a jury determined that a school district should pay a schoolteacher more
than $2 million for failing to provide her with a classroom window because
she has seasonal affective disorder (“SAD”).
Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) if you are a qualified individual with a disability, your employer must
make an effort to reasonable accommodate your disability. Accommodations
can be simple – such as changing your start time by a few minutes
or altering your workspace. If your employer fails to accommodate you,
in most cases it is possible to file an ADA discrimination charge. However,
in instances where the request is too expensive or burdensome, accommodations
may not be required.
Ekstrand, after working several years for the school district, a teacher was moved
to a room with no windows. Even though she told the school district that
she had SAD, a form of depression that occurs based on a lack of exposure
to natural light, the school failed to “reasonably accommodate”
when requested by moving her to a classroom with windows.
Although the amount the teacher will receive was reduced due to caps on
damages, the verdict sends a message to employers that depression and
other disabilities must be taken seriously and accommodated where reasonable.
For more information, or if your employer has taken an adverse action
against you or failed to reasonably accommodate your disability,
contact The Buckley Law Firm, LLC, a Georgia law firm committed to defending worker’s rights.