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Consider shift change as reasonable disability accommodation

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

by Maria Greco Danaher, Esq.

A federal court has held that, under certain circumstances, the ADA may obligate an employer to accommodate an employee’s disability-related difficulties in getting to work.

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals held that changing a part-time employee’s schedule to day shift—because her poor vision made it dangerous for her to drive at night—could be a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.

The case is Colwell v. Rite Aid (No. 08-4675, 3rd Cir., 2010).

Night and day

In April 2005, Jeanette Colwell began working as a part-time retail clerk at a Rite Aid drugstore, generally working weekdays from 5 to 9 p.m. A few months after she began working there, Colwell was diagnosed with retinal disease and glaucoma, which eventually left her blind in one eye.

In September 2005, Colwell told her supervisor that the partial blindness made the drive to work at night dangerous and difficult for her. She asked to be...(register to read more)

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