Does a reasonable accommodation request cover temporary injuries?

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Does a reasonable accommodation request cover temporary injuries?

My feet were damanaged during my time in Army. Physical therapy brought them back to near normal, although I’m not able to withstand excessive punishment such as military service. I was released from duty and there ahs been no need for treatment for over 5 years. I accepted a job as a casual employee for postal service during the Christmas rush. I worked 6 days a week for 12 hours a day. With no down time between I went from Christmas to 365 Casual in January 2016. While most employees had hours reduced mine did not. I started having increasing pain in ankles and feet. I requested reduced hours and request denied. Requested transfer to less labor intensive job and request denied. I was told I would have to get a medical ‘reasonable accommodations request’. The specialist I saw gave me a form which when I handed it in I was told was insufficient and not to return to work till I had one on Hospital letterhead, signed by doctor with specific ending date. On the same day I was able to get corrected form I recieved dismissal notice in mail. Supervisor who had taken first form and filed paperwork for dismissal with Kansas City is unavailable for questions. I was told they would attempt to reverse dismissal – no word since. There is no documentation of this. Do I have grounds for wrongful dismissal? What should my next step be?

Asked on June 10, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You may have no grounds to contest this. A reasonable accommodation is a change in rules or procedures which is not too disruptive, or provision of some furniture or assistive device which is not too expensive, which lets you do the job you had, and work the hours you were supposed to. But  giving you a different job (e.g. a less labor intensive job) or reducing your hours is not a reasonable accommodation, because that is not something which lets you do the job, and work the hours, you had been doing and working. An employer does not need to change your job as an accommodation; it only needs to do reasonable things to let you do that job. That being the case, if you could not do the job or work the hours you were supposed to, you could be terminated.


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