Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Does a Temporary Disability Require a Reasonable Accommodation?

Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodation to qualified employees with disabilities, unless accommodation would cause undue hardship. But what if the disability is only temporary?

The Employer Handbook blog recently posed this question:

Let's assume that your employee breaks his leg. Doctors tell your employee that he won't walk normally for seven months. Without surgery, bed rest, pain medication, and physical therapy, he "likely" won't be able to walk for more than a year after the accident. 

Bottom line: The employee will heal, but it will take some time. 

But is your employee disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act? 

In a recent case, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that because "disability" has a broad definition, temporary disabilities may be covered if they are severe. As a result, employers should not immediately dismiss an employee's temporary disability, because it may require a reasonable accommodation.

Read the entire blog post here.

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