Theallows eligible employees up to 12 weeks’ unpaid leave per year to deal with serious health conditions. The ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for disabled employees so they can perform the essential functions of their jobs.
Courts have interpreted the ADA reasonable accommodations clause to mean employees may be entitled to time off as an accommodation.
That means employers sometimes find themselves in tricky situations: An employee who has exhaustedcannot return to work yet, but might be able to after more time off as an ADA accommodation. In effect, the ADA may extend leave if the employee is disabled.
But a new case shows that an employer’s quick action may stop the clock. Here’s how: Discharging the employee as soon as it is clear she can’t return from FMLA leave, or considering her failure to report as a voluntary resignation means she’s no longer an employee. If she didn’t request more time off as an ADA accommodation before her leave expired, she’s out of luck.
Recent case: Eleanor Lafata worked for the Church of Christ Home for the Aged as a staff nurse. After a series of on-the-job injuries, she had to take 12 weeks of FMLA leave. Because she had not entirely recovered, Lafata could not return to her job. That’s when the nursing home sent her immediate notice that it considered her failure to report to work a voluntary resignation.
Lafata wrote back, asking for a reasonable accommodation of either more time off or a modification of her job responsibilities. But the court said she was too late. Because she was no longer an employee, she wasn’t entitled to accommodations. (Lafata v. Church of Christ Home for the Aged, No. 05-CV-72882, ED MI, 2007)
Final note: This case may sound hardhearted, but if Lafata had asked for accommodations sooner, it might have turned out differently. Treat any request for accommodations before FMLA leave has expired as you would any other under the ADA.
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/3854/firing-after-fmla-leave-makes-ada-request-irrelevant "
- No time for WARN notice? You can continue paying instead
- Found liable for discrimination? You'll owe back pay, even if fired worker starts a new business
- Pregnancy discrimination: You may be personally liable
- What's wrong with letting an employee 'Resign' instead of firing him?
- Use telecommuters? Avoid the 6 common legal pitfalls