The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rendered a critical pro-employee interpretation of the Americans with Disabilities Act reasonable accommodation requirement. Under this new interpretation, an employer is required to provide a qualified individual with a disability a reasonable accommodation even if the accommodation does not relate to the essential functions of the job. That is a huge victory for plaintiffs. Employers frequently deny accommodations because they lack a connection to the essential functions of the job. The appellate decision clarifies that approach is illegal.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) reasonable accommodations
Under the ADA, employer must provide a reasonable accommodation that (1) permits the employee to access the workplace; (2) permits the employee to enjoy equal privileges and benefits of employment as other similarly situated employees; and (3) perform the essential function of the role. Employers have long attempted to force the first two prongs into the third and require some connection, or nexus, between the reasonable accommodation and the essential functions of the job.
Instead, the Fifth Circuit expressly rejected this approach to require each prong considered independently. The ADA does not require a nexus between the accommodation and the essential functions. For disabled employees, this interpretation clarifies (some 22 years after the ADA was passed) that disabled employees are entitled to reasonable accommodations of the worksite purely for access and use of the facilities and modification of the job to facilitate enjoying the benefits of the job, such as work schedule modifications and promotion opportunities.
Employment attorneys for disability discrimination in the workplace
If you believe your employer has discriminated against you due to a disability then you should contact employment attorneys right away. The Americans with Disabilities Act is a technical statute and you need an experienced employment attorney on your side to help navigate it. Do not delay speaking with an employment attorney. The Americans with Disabilities Act and Texas law require you to act quickly to pursue a claim. An employment attorney can advise you whether you have a claim or what you can do to protect your job. Do not let your employer take advantage of you for having a disability.