In Gupta v. IBM, a high-level IBM employee sought accommodations for his back problems, including business-class air travel and special ergonomic furniture. IBM complied with the travel request, but took over 3.5 months to process the furniture request, by which point Gupta had already been selected for retirement during a larger layoff process. Gupta filed suit in California state court, alleging disability discrimination, failure to engage in the interactive process, and failure to accommodate. The court denied IBM’s motion to dismiss the failure to engage in the interactive process and failure to accommodate claims because questions of fact remained as to whether IBM delayed the implementation of the new furniture. The Court was unpersuaded by IBM’s argument that the “routine processing” of an accommodation by a large corporation will take some time, and concluded that a jury must assess the lawfulness of IBM’s actions.
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