Fifth Circuit Affirms Judgment for Employer in Disability Case
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed a decision for an employer in a disability case. Griffin v. United Parcel Service, Inc., No. 10-30854 (5th Cir. Oct. 19, 2011), available at http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/10/10-30854-CV0.wpd.pdf.
Following leave and because his previous position had been filled, an employee was assigned to an overnight shift. The employee sent an “Accommodation Request” and stated that his doctors required him to work daytime hours to accommodate his diabetes. The employer denied the request. The employee retired, sued, and then appealed the trial court’s summary judgment for the employer.
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employment discrimination against a qualified individual on the basis of his disability. In this case, the Court concluded that the employee was not disabled within the meaning of the ADA. Further, even if he were, the Court concluded that no reasonable jury could find that the employer was unwilling to, in good faith, participate in an interactive process to reasonably accommodate the employee’s needs. The ADA provides a right to a reasonable accommodation, not a right to the employee’s preferred accommodation. Here, the employee’s doctors suggested that a daytime shift would be preferable but did not state that it was necessary. Because the employee terminated the interactive process by retiring, the Court could not determine what measures may have been taken had the discussions continued.
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KEITH A. CLOUSE
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