Communication is a key with ADA Requirements

by on January 14, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Employees need to specify when ADA accommodation is needed.

An employee who asks for “some time off” as an accommodation under ADA guidelines can’t expect you to guess when he actually needs it.

That’s the upshot of a recent ADA lawsuit in Rhode Island.

An employee had missed months of work with ulcers. When she returned to what she considered a high-stress job, she told her boss she was starting to feel ill again and needed “some time off.”


He asked her to hang in there until a meeting a week later where she was to make a high-level presentation. The boss said she could have time off afterward.

The presentation was a disaster, and the company’s irate CEO ordered the employee transferred to a less responsible position. Rather than accept the demotion, she quit and sued, alleging failure to accommodate under the American Disabilities Act.

The court nixed her claim.

The employee said she needed the time off right then. But the court pointed out that she didn’t say this, nor did she tell her boss she couldn’t wait until after the meeting. He met ADA requirements in regards to accommodation, the court ruled.

ADA Guidelines for Managers:
When an employee raises a potential ADA or FMLA issue, by all means be proactive in offering an accommodation or leave. But the law doesn’t require you to read minds.

Cite: Freadman v. Metropolitan Prop. &
Cas. Ins. Co., No. 06-1486, 1st Cir., 4/18/07.

Issue 6.1 DOP 7-16-05

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