When employees who have had serious health crises return to work, employers often worry that they may not be able to work safely. While that may seem like a valid concern for employee welfare, courts seldom see it that way.
In fact, if a returning employee also requested reasonable accommodations, refusing to let him return may amount to retaliation for protected activity.
Recent case: Douglas Baker, a forklift operator, went out on medical leave for a heart condition. After exhausting his paid leave and undergoing a defibrillator and pacemaker implant, he sought to return to work.
He asked his employer to provide him with reasonable accommodations so he could avoid electromagnetic fields that might interfere with his implanted heart devices. He wanted to wear a sensor that measures electromagnetic levels, and requested a special forklift route that would keep him out of harm’s way.
The employer told him he could return to work only if he agreed to waive any potential future claims for workers’.
Baker sued, alleging ADA retaliation. The company argued that it refused to let him return out of concern it couldn’t protect him from harm.
But the court saw instead a calculated effort to let Baker expose himself to harm as long as he promised not to claim workers’ compensation benefits. It said the limited return offer was retaliation for requesting accommodations. (Baker v. Windsor Republic Doors, No. 08-6200, 6th Cir., 2011)
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/14450/when-employee-requests-accommodation-beware-overly-cautious-return-to-work-conditions "