If an employee claims she’s disabled and needs just a few accommodations to do her job, it may be wise to make them—even if you aren’t convinced she’s really disabled. That way, she can’t accuse you of failing to engage in the interactive accommodations process.
Recent case: Julie, who was an attorney for the city of Minneapolis, claimed she injured her shoulder at work. She filed a workers’ compensation claim. Later, she filed a lawsuit against the city, alleging retaliation for filing the workers’ comp claim and failure to accommodate her disability.
The city easily got the case dismissed when it showed that it had approved all leave she requested for treatment, and also provided ergonomic office furniture as an accommodation. She offered nothing to show that the city was uncooperative. (Delgado-O’Neil v. City of Minneapolis, No. 10-4021, DC MN, 2012)
- No obligation to create indefinite light-duty job
- Retaliation alert: Most public employees protected when reporting alleged wrongdoing
- Include 'At-Will' disclaimer when adopting HR policies
- Cell phones, laptops and BlackBerrys: Understand the liability risks
- Set reasonable limits on noncompete agreements