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Punishing for accommodation request may be retaliation

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

An employee who requests accommodations can sue for retaliation if he can show that his employer punished him for making the request.

Recent case: Mike Kirkeberg, who has hepatitis C and lost vision in one eye, asked to work from home temporarily. The request was denied.

Then, someone stole his computer and Kirkeberg got into a heated argument with his boss. He said the computer never would have been swiped if he worked from home. Within days, the supervisor planned to outsource Kirkeberg’s work and then fired him.

He sued for retaliation. The court agreed that someone who makes a good-faith claim for reasonable accommodations engages in protected activity and can sue for retaliation. However, the court also said that in this case, Kirkeberg hadn’t requested an accommodation when he argued with his boss. (Kirkeberg v. Canadian Pacific Railway, No. 09-1422, 8th Cir., 2010)

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