What is a Reasonable Accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act? The City of Philadelphia’s Costly Reminder to Consider Job Transfers as a Reasonable Accommodation

by Fisher Phillips
Contact

On July 9, 2012, David Moore filed a Charge with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) (Charge No. 530-2012-02470) alleging that the City of Philadelphia failed to reassign him to a new job as a reasonable accommodation when a heart condition left him unable to perform his current job. Instead, the City of Philadelphia terminated his employment.

By way of background, Mr. Moore was a sanitation worker for the Streets Department of the City of Philadelphia. In April of 2011, Mr. Moore suffered a heart attack which left him with permanent, severe cardiac conditions. Mr. Moore’s doctor imposed a 20-pound lifting restriction, leaving Mr. Moore unable to fulfill the duties of his position. As a result of the lifting restriction, Mr. Moore had requested several times to be reassigned to one of the Streets Department’s open positions or to be put on light duty. At one point, Mr. Moore informed the Streets Department that he was “willing to accept whatever work assignment that is available.”

The Streets Department, however, kept extending Mr. Moore’s medical leave and told him to inform the Streets Department when he could return to work in his previous position (full duty, without restrictions). During the time Mr. Moore was out on leave, there were numerous open positions, according to the Complaint. On March 15, 2012, Mr. Moore’s doctor informed the City of Philadelphia that the 20-pound lifting restriction would be permanent. Two months later, the City of Philadelphia terminated Mr. Moore’s employment stating, “[u]nfortunately, we are unable to provide an accommodation for your restrictions.”

The EEOC found reasonable cause to believe that the allegations of discrimination on the basis of disability were true. The EEOC referred the Charge to the United States Department of Justice after the EEOC’s attempts at conciliation failed. The United States then filed a lawsuit against the City of Philadelphia (Case No. 2:17-CV-00514-GJP) alleging claims under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).

On February 6, 2017, the City of Philadelphia and the United States entered into a Consent Decree. Mr. Moore received $90,000 ($42,500 as back pay, $2,500 as accumulated interest on the back pay, and $45,000 as compensatory damages) and an offer of reinstatement as an employee with the City of Philadelphia with retroactive seniority and other previous benefits of employment. Significantly, the City of Philadelphia agreed to revise its policies and procedures to state that employees who can no longer perform the essential functions of their position due to a disability will be reassigned to a vacant position if they are qualified for it. Additionally, the City of Philadelphia agreed to meet certain recordkeeping and reporting requirements and to provide mandatory training on all aspects of Title I of the ADA.

Mr. Moore’s case is a reminder to all employers to review their policies and procedures to determine if they are compliant with the ADA and their obligations to reasonably accommodate disabled employees. Moreover, not only should an employer review its policies and procedures, it should do its due diligence to determine if the company is appropriately implementing its policies.

 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Fisher Phillips | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Fisher Phillips
Contact
more
less

Fisher Phillips on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.