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Accommodating Disabled Workers: 'Tis the Season to Get Engaged

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By now, you know the law says employers must make “reasonable accommodations” for an employee’s qualifying disability. But, as a new case shows, don’t be so quick to simply transfer such employees to other positions. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and many state laws require you to first try to accommodate disabled workers in their current jobs …

CASE IN POINT: A Wal-Mart in Oregon hired Heidi Austin as a part-time fitting room associate. She was responsible for assisting customers trying on clothes, re-hanging clothes, answering phones and attaching price tags. Austin has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair.

One day, Austin asked to use an empty shopping cart to assist her with her duties. If a phone call came in, she could put the clothes she was handling in the cart and answer the phone. She received approval from several supervisors but, ultimately, a senior supervisor blocked her request. Austin also asked pe...(register to read more)

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenni December 8, 2008 at 7:27 pm

We live in a town with NO Wal Mart. I miss it like the dentists’ drill.


Ben Tate December 5, 2008 at 10:50 am

I believe that Wal Mart (Sr Supervisor/supervisors she have open minds and listen more often as well. Where is HR in this hold matter. Our job is to make sure repsonses are to the level of the law and that management is doing their part to rectefy this issues before they go to court. We may not be gatekeepers but we are oversseers to amke sure things are done decent and in order with company values, mission statements, and our company’s vision for custmers and employees as well.


S Duran December 5, 2008 at 10:36 am

Remember it isn’t the entity….it’s the people!!


Alice Martrano December 5, 2008 at 9:53 am

I know the article is a broader issue but I must say that the more I hear about Walmart the more I believe that they are one of the nastiest employers anyone could work for. As a consumer with a conscience I cannot continue to patronize this giant bully any longer.


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