In May of 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit hear a case involving a Kentucky disability ADA discrimination issue. (See Regan v. Faurecia Automotive Seating, Inc., 679 F3d. 475 (6th Cir. 2012)). This Kentucky case is an employment discrimination case. In it the plaintiff filed a lawsuit alleging violations of Title VII And the ADA. In it she alleged that the defendant failed to provide a reasonable accommodation for her disability of narcolepsy and discriminated against her on her basis of gender. Id.
The lower court had granted summary judgment. This court on appeal was brought by a Kentucky disability (ADA) discrimination lawyer. At this appellate stage, this court denied the appeal and affirmed the lower court’s ruling of dismissing the case. The reasoning is as follows.
The defendant designs and assembles seats for cars. The plaintiff began working for the defendant in May of 2005 as a Prototype Seat Builder. Her hours were from 6am to 3pm. Initially the plaintiff lived 24 miles from the job site but then in 2008 moved and was now 79 miles from the job site. It now took her 2-4 hours to get to work. So Plaintiff found a Kentucky disability (ADA) discrimination lawyer to assist her in getting her travel time adjusted.
The plaintiff does suffer from narcolepsy. She was diagnosed in 1997. She is on medications for it. In 2008, her job hours changed to 7am to 4pm. But before the change she did meet with her supervisors and told them that this change would make her commute longer and that because of her narcolepsy it would make it very difficult for her to travel in the heavier traffic. Her request was denied but she was advised to take FMLA or quit. Id. Plaintiff in this Kentucky disability (ADA) discrimination lawsuit got a doctor’s note saying that the 6am-3pm hours were recommended for her. Id.
Under the ADA an employer is prohibited from discriminating against a qualified individual with a disability because of his or her disability in employment matters such as hiring, advancement and discharge. Id. The lower court found that her narcolepsy does not substantially limit.. major life activities to the degree necessary to qualify her as disabled under the ADA. Id. But, even so, if it did, the court held that an altered work schedule to minimize her commute time is not a required reasonable accommodation. Id.
Under the ADA a “reasonable accommodation” can be “job restricting, par-time or modified work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position, acquisition or modification of equipment or devices, appropriate adjustment or modifications of examinations, training materials or policies, the provision of qualified readers or interpreters, and other similar accommodations for individuals with disabilities. Id. The employee had the burden of proposing an initial reasonable accommodation. Id. Then it is a factual determination to see if the defendant’s particular situation can do it.
This Kentucky court hearing a Kentucky disability ADA discrimination lawsuit noted that it had not yet decided this precise issue. But, that many other courts have and they held that the ADA does not require an employer to accommodate an employee’s commute. Id. “Although an employer is required to make reasonable accommodations to eliminate barriers for a disabled employee in the workplace, the employer is not required to eliminate barriers outside the workplace that make it more difficult for the employee to get to and from work.” (cites omitted). “The change to day shift sought by Plaintiff Is not an ‘accommodation,’ that is legally obligated to provide, but is simply a request for an easier, more convenient commute.” (cites omitted).
As to the gender discrimination allegation, the court dismissed that one as well in that the plaintiff failed to show that she suffered an adverse employment action in that the denial of her request to regularly work through lunch or to work different hours was not an adverse employment action. Id.
If you have been the subject of a Kentucky disability (ADA) discrimination case, please call and speak to a Kentucky disability (ADA) discrimination lawyer at the Law Offices of Andrew Alitowski, P.A. at 888-ASK-ANDREW (275-2637) or contact us. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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