Can “I Want a Window Office” Be an ADA request? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Can “I Want a Window Office” Be an ADA request?

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It’s getting dark out sooner. The sun is coming up later. And with the darker season comes struggles for employees who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a form of depression in which a decrease of natural light triggers a mood disorder. So does that mean you may have to offer SAD sufferers a workspace near sunlight? Quite possibly, as a recent court ruled that “Natural light may be a medical necessity”…


Case in Point: Renae Ekstrand worked happily as a first-grade teacher for Somerset School District in Wisconsin for four years. Then she was transferred to a classroom without any exterior windows.

Before her school year started, Ekstrand gave the principal a doctor’s note that explained she suffered from seasonal affective disorder. The American Academy of Family Physicians reports that as many as six of every 100 people in the United States suffer from SAD. Another 10% to 20% may e...(register to read more)

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa October 16, 2009 at 1:35 pm

I believe that SAD can also be mitigated with UV or some other special artificial lighting. If, for some reason, changing classrooms did present an undue hardship, providing special lighting may have been a reasonable accommodation.

Regarding the ADAAA that went into effect this year: because the alleged violation occurred prior to the ADAAA, are the school’s actions held to the standards of the ADA as the time of the violation or at the time the suit was filed? It seems to me that the latter would be nonsensical. Does SAD in this particular case meet the definition of disability under the ADA before the ADAAA?


Sarah October 15, 2009 at 2:08 pm

A classroom (with a window) sat empty and the pricipal denied request?!?!?! (Most likely from their many windowed office…) REALLY? I hope the pricipal had to pay the court costs from their own salary not from the taxpayers. Who is the planning person for this school district? A mole (as in animal not spy)? Everyone knows the “window seats” go first.


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