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Place disabled worker on leave while mulling accommodations

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

What can you do if an employee presents you with medical restrictions that limit his ability to perform essential functions of his job? If it’s clear he can’t actually do the job, you can place him on leave.

Recent case: Dale Shepard worked for UPS as a union employee. He developed leukemia, a condition that meant he could no longer lift 70 pounds, as his job required. UPS placed him on leave because it could not transfer him to an office job under the collective-bargaining agreement.

Shepard sued, alleging that by being placed on leave, he was regarded as disabled and discriminated against.

The court disagreed. It pointed out that UPS’ leave placement was a reasonable response to Shepard’s medical restrictions, given the collective bargaining agreement in place. (Shepard v. UPS, No. 11-11976, 11th Cir., 2012)

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