Friday, February 24, 2017

What is a Reasonable Accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act? The City of Philadelphia’s Costly Reminder to Consider Job Transfers as a Reasonable Accommodation - JD SUPRA

by Lauren Fuiman Cell  
Originally published: February 21, 2017

On July 9, 2012, David Moore filed a Charge with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) (Charge No. 530-2012-02470) alleging that the City of Philadelphia failed to reassign him to a new job as a reasonable accommodation when a heart condition left him unable to perform his current job. Instead, the City of Philadelphia terminated his employment.

By way of background, Mr. Moore was a sanitation worker for the Streets Department of the City of Philadelphia. In April of 2011, Mr. Moore suffered a heart attack which left him with permanent, severe cardiac conditions. Mr. Moore’s doctor imposed a 20-pound lifting restriction, leaving Mr. Moore unable to fulfill the duties of his position. As a result of the lifting restriction, Mr. Moore had requested several times to be reassigned to one of the Streets Department’s open positions or to be put on light duty. At one point, Mr. Moore informed the Streets Department that he was “willing to accept whatever work assignment that is available.”

The Streets Department, however, kept extending Mr. Moore’s medical leave and told him to inform the Streets Department when he could return to work in his previous position (full duty, without restrictions). During the time Mr. Moore was out on leave, there were numerous open positions, according to the Complaint. On March 15, 2012, Mr. Moore’s doctor informed the City of Philadelphia that the 20-pound lifting restriction would be permanent. Two months later, the City of Philadelphia terminated Mr. Moore’s employment stating, “[u]nfortunately, we are unable to provide an accommodation for your restrictions.”