Following the Employee Doctor’s Orders is not Always the Best Medicine

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The Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and its state law equivalent prohibit employers from discriminating against individuals with disabilities or from creating a hostile work environment for them. Unlike any other employment law, disability laws also impose an affirmative duty to reasonably accommodate a disability in order to allow an individual to perform the essential functions of the job. Employers generally have no problem complying with non discrimination or anti harassment provisions. It is the affirmative duty to accommodate that causes problems and leads to expensive and time-consuming litigation. In Johnson v. Chevron USA, Inc., 159 Wn. App. 18 (2010), Chevron discovered that doing only what the employee’s doctor mandates is not the end of the accommodation process.

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