It is not unusual for employers in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area and elsewhere to consider certain aspects of a job as essential. However, that does not mean that certain measures cannot be taken to ensure that a person with a disability can still perform an essential function by providing reasonable accommodations. Unfortunately, one worker in another state was terminated from his job with Kraft-Heinz after his employer wrongly believed that he could not work overtime, which is an essential part of the job.
The worker informed his employer that he had a seizure disorder and asked for accommodation in his schedule that would allow him to have at least 16 hours between his shifts and to have advance notice of any upcoming unscheduled shifts. The individual worked for several weeks before the company informed him that they considered his disability a liability and could not provide him with the requested accommodation. However, the man stated that the company did not confer with him to determine whether they could find a way to properly accommodate him.
The worker filed a lawsuit claiming violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Recently, the court ruled in favor of the employee with the following results:
- The court believed the company did not follow through with an interactive process with the worker to determine whether accommodation was possible.
- The court determined that the employer was incorrect in assuming that the worker could not perform overtime.
- The court considered it reasonable to use schedule accommodations to suit the worker’s needs while also meeting the essential duty of working overtime.
No one should be made to feel as if their disability is holding them back from gainful employment when reasonable accommodations could allow the person to work. If employees in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area believe that their employers have treated them unfairly or refused to provide accommodation, they may want to determine whether taking legal action could suit the situation. Each case is different, so gaining personalized insight would be wise.