The EEOC has been on a recent streak of suing employers who fail to offer their employees leaves of absence as reasonable accommodations under the ADA. In our prior post discussing post-FMLA leave as a reasonable accommodation, the staggering settlement amounts involved in these cases hopefully opened employers’ eyes to avoiding this expensive mistake.
Continuing this trend, the EEOC has now sued the Scooter Store for failing to offer a disabled employee a temporary leave of absence as a reasonable accommodation. The employee, who suffered a knee injury and needed only a temporary leave of absence, was fired for purportedly abandoning his job. The EEOC now argues that the employer failed to engage in the ADA-required interactive process and that a temporary leave of absence would not have posed an undue hardship.
With the EEOC’s recent focus on these cases, employers need to make sure they’re engaging in the interactive process and that their denial of an employee’s requested accommodation is, in fact, appropriate under the circumstances.