Before you ignore an employee who complains he has a hard time walking, consider the consequences of denying a reasonable accommodation. If a jury finds that the employee is disabled, you may be liable. Instead, explore the problem and make simple accommodations if at all possible.
Recent case: Carmen Melone worked for an RV dealer. He underwent a radical prostatectomy to treat prostate cancer and then had difficulty walking and standing, but his request for accommodations was ignored. A jury found in his favor and the employer appealed, arguing that Melone wasn’t disabled.
The court refused to second-guess the jury, which apparently concluded Melone was substantially impaired in his ability to walk and stand as compared to average Americans. (Melone v. RV Country, No. 10-17730, 9th Cir., 2011)
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- Feel free to adjust pay to suit local standards
- Courts won't second-guess honest business decisions