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Accommodations may differ, but you must make sure they’re fair to all disabled workers

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Human Resources

If you have several disabled employees receiving reasonable accommodations, be careful to treat all of them fairly and equitably.

While each disability is different and the ADA requires accommodations to take into account those differences, you must still be careful not to give some disabled employees better accommodations than others.

Recent case: Lorenzo Jiles, who is black, worked for UPS. Jiles hurt his hip at work and could no longer work as a driver. UPS accommodated Jiles by assigning him to a different position within his restrictions.

But he sued when another injured UPS driver also got an accommodation—this one with a different and apparently more desirable schedule. Jiles claimed this amounted to race discrimination because the other former driver was white. In other words, Jiles claimed that better accommodations were available for white employees.

UPS won the case after showing that Jiles actually turned down the very schedule he was now claiming the company discriminatorily gave to the white employee. The result might have been quite different if Jiles could have shown that the white employee actually got a better accommodation than he did. (Jiles v. UPS, No. 09-13625, 11th Cir., 2010)

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