Q. An employee brought in a doctor’s note that said, “Employee can work only eight hours a day due to arthritis.” I don’t think that’s an ADA disability. Is it a violation of ADA if we don’t honor this restriction? — T.T., Georgia
A. Quite possibly. Employers subject to the ADA must provide reasonable accommodations to qualified disabled employees. A “disability” under the ADA is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a person’s major life activity.
The ADA Amendments Act, which took effect in January, significantly broadens the types of impairments that will qualify as a disability under the ADA. Given this broad new definition, it’s possible that your employee is a protected individual under the law. Limiting the employee’s work schedule could be an appropriate accommodation unless you can show that this would cause you an undue hardship.
Although it wouldn’t be wise to dismiss the employee’s request out of hand, it is permissible to discuss the employee’s request further, and determine what restrictions exist and whether more suitable accommodations are available.
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