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Inability to work overtime doesn’t constitute disability

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Employees with psychological problems may claim they can’t handle the stress of working more than a regular 40-hour week. But if that’s the only restriction the employee has, he’s probably not disabled.

Recent case: John Bialko worked for Quaker Oats as a forklift operator until he took 12 weeks of FMLA leave for anxiety and panic disorder. His doctors released him to work, but only 40 hours a week.

But the company required overtime. Since Bialko didn’t have any FMLA leave left to cover the extra hours, the company refused to reinstate him. He sued under the ADA.

The court tossed out the case, explaining that Bialko wasn’t disabled. It said that the inability to work overtime doesn’t substantially limit the ability to work. (Bialko v. Quaker Oats, No. 3:CV-08-0364, MD PA, 2010)

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