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Employer gets to choose ADA accommodation

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

The ADA requires employers and employees to discuss potential reasonable disability accommodations with each other. However, the bottom line is this: The employer gets to choose which accommodation to implement, not the employee.  

As long as the chosen accommodation is reasonable, the employee’s desires take no precedence.

Recent case: Nicole worked as a picker at a CVS warehouse, a job that required her to climb ladders and lift, carry and sort packages. When she became pregnant, she developed complications that made it impossible to reach over her head, lift packages and carry them. As a reasonable accommodation she requested a transfer to light-duty work.

HR reviewed her request, her job description and its own records and concluded that there was no available work that Nicole could do. Therefore CVS offered her leave as an accommodation, along with partial payments through a disability insurance policy. Her leave was extended several times.

After giving birth, Nicole developed postpartum depression. She requested a job that didn’t require interacting with anyone. Instead, CVS offered more time off. It extended her postpartum leave several times.

However, she was eventually discharged when she neglected to submit paperwork for another extension.

She sued, alleging she hadn’t been reasonably accommodated.

The court dismissed Nicole’s case. It said the employer gets to choose the accommodation and that leave with partial pay was reasonable under the circumstances. That leave doesn’t have to continue forever. (Moore v. CVS RX, No. 4:14-CV-01318, MD PA, 2015)

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