• LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+

Granting reasonable accommodation isn’t enough–you must make sure it actually happens

by on
in Employment Law,HR Management,Maternity Leave Laws

It’s one thing to grant a reasonable accommodation request. It’s another thing entirely to make the accommodation happen.

Once you have approved an accommodation, someone from HR must ensure the decision is implemented.

Recent case: When Annmarie Rooney, who managed a shoe store, be­came pregnant, she told her regional manager. After that, she claimed, the company made it impossible for her to work.

Rooney had a high-risk pregnancy, and doctors told her she should not work more than 40 hours per week. Rooney explained this to the regional manager and asked for a reasonable accommodation.

The manager told her that as store manager, she was free to hire addi­tional staff. Rooney never did so. Instead, she kept working, sometimes a few hours extra per week. Then she went out on maternity leave—and never returned.

Instead, she sued, alleging that she had not been accommodated and had been discriminated against.

She argued that although the company had approved her accommodation and told her to essentially deal with getting extra help herself, she didn’t have money in her budget to hire anyone.

The court agreed that an employer can’t grant an accommodation and then effectively block its implementation with things like delays or budget constraints. However, Rooney never provided any budget specifics to prove she couldn’t get help. That sank her case. (Rooney v. Brown Group, No. 08-CV-484, ED NY, 2011)

Leave a Comment