Revisit accommodations if they’re no longer effective

It’s perfectly acceptable to periodically review ADA accommodations to ensure they still work. Typically, that happens when it seems as if the employee may not be able to perform the essential functions of the job even with accommodations.

Recent case: Tara worked as a veterinary surgeon despite a debilitating back condition. The veterinary practice accommodated her by providing extra staff to help during surgery.

Then Tara developed a severe latex allergy. As an accommodation, she asked to be allowed to carry and use an EpiPen to self-inject epinephrine during severe allergic reactions. She also asked for someone else to be assigned to administer the medicine if she were to pass out at work. In less than a year, Tara had to use the EpiPen five times, and once was hospitalized.

Then Tara took FMLA leave for back surgery. When she was ready to return, the practice said it wanted to revisit her accommodations. Managers worried that the EpiPen accommodation wasn’t working. Tara quit and sued, alleging constructive discharge.

The court dismissed her suit, stating that the employer was simply trying to determine what, if any, accommodation was possible in light of the frequent latex allergic reactions Tara experienced. (Rabuffo v. VCA, No. 5:15-CV-06378, ED PA, 2016)