Monday, December 6, 2010

Disabilities Protections Expanded

Workforce Management
By James E. Hall, Mark T. Kobata and Marty Denis
Workforce Management, November 2010, p. 11

Because of the ADA Amendments Act's more expansive definition of a 'disability,' employers should be aware that workers with cancer or other diseases that are inactive or in remission may still be considered disabled, in which case reasonable accommodations must be considered.

Sam Hoffman, a service technician for Advanced Healthcare, was diagnosed with stage 3 renal cancer and had his left kidney removed.
More than a year later, Advanced Healthcare told all of its service technicians, including Hoffman, they would have to start working 65 to 70 hours a week, instead of the previous 40 hours.
Although his cancer was in remission, Hoffman gave the company a doctor’s note limiting him to a 40-hour schedule. Advanced Healthcare agreed to a 40-hour schedule but told him he would have to work out of the company’s Fort Wayne, Indiana, office rather than his Angola, Indiana, home. Hoffman, citing two to three hours of commute time that would be added to his day, refused and never returned to work.
Hoffman sued the company under the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended by the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act, claiming the company failed to accommodate his disability and fired him because he was disabled or regarded as disabled.

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