ADA Situations
1) Joan Smith worked for the State of Illinois as a Corrections Officer. This position
listed lifting a minimum of 30 pounds as an essential function of the job. Joan
was in a non-work related accident and as a result, was no longer able to meet
the lifting requirement due to a back injury. She eventually transferred to a desk
job that did not require lifting. Her new job duties included processing paperwork
for prisoners, answering phone calls, and general case management, all
requiring regular attendance.
Smith continued to have issues with her back and ended up taking a 12 week
FMLA leave. At the end of her leave, she was still in a good deal of pain and
requested another 30 day unpaid leave of absence, not only for her pain, but also
to care for her father, who was in Hospice. The request was granted, however
towards the end of that leave, she requested additional time off. At that point,
Smith was informed that her request was denied and if she failed to return to
work upon the conclusion of the 30-day leave, the termination process would
begin. She did not return to work on her expected date but did submit notes from
her doctor requesting additional time off for a medical leave. The notes did not
provide any detail on her condition, course of treatment, or estimated recovery.
Smith’s employment was terminated and she in turn sued, claiming that the State
should have considered her request for an accommodation of unpaid leave
rather than terminate her.
2) Troy Milton worked for a manufacturing company in Texas that had policy
prohibiting any firearms on company premises. On day, Troy brought his shotgun
into the premises and was immediately terminated for this policy violation. Later,
he had a mental breakdown and was hospitalized and subsequently diagnosed
with a mental disorder. After his release from the hospital, Troy attempted to get
his job back by claiming that his mentor disorder was covered under the ADA
and as such, a reasonable accommodation would be to discipline him, but not
fire him for the offense.
3) Cindy Steborn also worked for the manufacturing company in the above case as
an Order Processor. She had been in her job for 6 months. Prior to this job, she
worked in a retail store where there was a shooting. Several of her close coworkers were injured and one died. When Cindy witnessed Troy walk into the
facility with his gun, she became physically ill and left the building. She later
notified her employer that she had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress
disorder and requested that she work from home as a reasonable
accommodation under the ADA. She stated that she would be able to complete
all of her work from home. At the time of the incident there were several
employees in similar positions that also worked remotely and they did have a
formal telecommuting policy in place. The policy stated that to be eligible, you
had to be employed for a minimum of 1 year and a performance evaluation score
of a 3 – Satisfactory or higher. The company denied her request, stating that the
conditions in the policy were not met, Cindy had not been employed the minimum
time period and as such, a formal performance evaluation had not been
completed. Cindy quit her job and later sued her employer for failing to
accommodate her ADA request.
4) Rhonda Meyer worked as a bus dispatcher for a school district. Her job required
her to have a Commercial Drivers’ License (CDL) in the event that she needed to
fill in for bus drivers. Rhonda was recently diagnosed with high blood pressure
and subsequently put on medication for this condition. She disclosed this to her
employer and they promptly told her that she would either need to transfer to
another department that did not require a CDL. The reason for this action was
because her high blood pressure condition was not in compliance with health
criteria imposed by the Department of Transportation (“DOT”). Rhoda stated that
she did not want to transfer and felt that the company was discriminating against
her due to her disability. She further stated that a reasonable accommodation
would be to modify the job so that a CDL was no longer required. The company
denied the request and offered to transfer her to another job. She turned down
the offer, left her employer and later sued the company for a violation of the ADA.
5) Ron White was a forklift driver for a “big box” home improvement store in
Colorado. His employer had a policy on mandatory “post-accident” drug/alcohol
testing. Early one Monday morning, Ron and Dan Little, another forklift driver,
collided, resulting in minor damages to both forklifts. Both were sent for
drug/alcohol testing following the incident. The results came back and showed
Ron testing positive for marijuana and Dan testing positive for alcohol. Both
employees were brought in (separately) and old that they would be terminated for
a violation of company policy. Ron was brought in first and was promptly
terminated. Dan was brought in next, however he stated at that time that he was
an alcoholic and requested an ADA accommodation to attend a treatment
program. Ron heard about this and contacted his former employer, asking for a
reasonable accommodation for his drug addiction. For this case, state whether or
not either employee would qualify for coverage under the ADA