Here’s a reminder that you must have accurate job descriptions that list essential and nonessential job functions. That’s vital for ADA compliance.
Recent case: Greg accepted an offer to develop a company’s new security software program and to sell it internationally. The job description listed many crucial duties but never mentioned travel as either necessary or essential. Greg accepted the job offer and began working out of the company’s California office.
Greg did have to travel to make presentations, including a trip to Vietnam. While there, he injured his knee. In fact, the pain was bad enough that he traveled home in business class so he could stretch out his leg.
After that, Greg began working mostly from home via computer and phone. He never reported the injury to HR, nor did he request accommodations.
Soon, he had surgery to repair his damaged knee. While he was unable to travel, he requested someone to stand in for him at sales meetings, but no proxy was ever provided.
Greg was terminated after a series of arguments about his performance and the scope of the project he was working on.
He sued, alleging he was disabled and that he should have been accommodated. His main complaint was that he had not been officially accommodated with a no-travel accommodation, such as the stand-in he requested.
The court tossed out his case. It first noted that Greg did not qualify as an individual with a disability. Then it noted that the employer hadn’t listed travel as an essential function of the job and that Greg admitted he had been able to perform his job from home via computer and phone. (Naderi v. Sophos, No. 15-CV-04006, ND CA, 2016)