Accommodations for absences with certified disability

Posted by on Jul 23, 2012

The Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit held that it posed an undue hardship on the employer, Columbia Gas Company, to require the employer to accommodate an employee dispatcher with chronic headaches by calling in another employee whenever the ill employee suffered a headache on the job, or was not able to come in to work due to her headaches. The employee was terminated after several years of increasing absenteeism due to debilitating headaches. The court was concerned about the safety critical nature of her job, which involved handing emergency and fire calls as well as calls for instructions, information and assistance. Due to the unpredictable nature of the employee’s absences, and the safety aspect of the job, the court found it was unreasonable to use the on call system to accommodate the employee’s frequent headaches which by the end of her term of employment were occurring from one to eight times per month.