Can leave be considered a “reasonable accommodation”? At a
recent labor and employment conference, an employers’ duty toward
workers with injuries was discussed. Calling the “American with
Disabilities Act” (the ADA) an “inadvertent leave law”
an EEOC Commissioner explained that after employees have exhausted the
leave entitled to them under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA),
they may be allowed to take additional leave as a “reasonable accommodation”
under the ADA.
As a general rule, the ADA protects qualified individuals with a disability
by requiring your employer make an effort to reasonably accommodate your
If you have questions about the ADA or your entitlement to leave under
other employment laws such as the FMLA, it’s a good idea to consult
with a top
Georgia disability discrimination lawyer to discuss your case.
The commissioner explained that although the ADA does not specifically
define the term “reasonable accommodation,” the Act provides
several examples of what could be considered a reasonable accommodations,
including leave, reassignment to an vacant position or changing your start
time by a few minutes.
Further, when deciding whether an accommodation is “reasonable,”
the test is whether the request creates undue hardship – defined
as “significant difficulty or expense” – to the employer.
The commissioner noted that the ADA is meant to “rectify the tilt”
that may make a disabled person unequal in the work place. Because the
ADA doesn’t provide clear lines as to what exactly is a reasonable
accommodation, especially in terms of leave, each situation is evaluated
on a case by case basis.
As a result of the limited guidance concerning leave, several lawsuits
have been filed across the country concerning leave policies and the ADA.
While many questions exist concerning leave, most agree that it’s
an employee’s responsibility to first request leave, and the need
for accommodation, although no particular words are needed to start the
process. Once an employee requests an accommodation, employers must do
more than just say, “no.” The employer must go through the
process of considering an accommodation. If an accommodation has been
rejected, an employee should try to offer other options – if an
employer continues to reject options, it may be easier to show that an
employer acted in “bad faith.”
Leave requests – including how much time is allowed and under what
circumstances – can be confusing. If you have questions concerning
leave please contact the experienced
Atlanta disability discrimination lawyers at The Buckley Law Firm, LLC for an immediate consultation.