rss.shrm.org | Jeffrey Rhodes
Takeaway: The court concluded that it could not draw a bright line and determine when the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) required a commuting accommodation and when it did not.
The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) might require an employer to offer accommodations to an employee with vision problems to make it easier for the worker to commute safely to the workplace.
The employee lived in Racine, Wis., and worked in a call center for defendant Charter Communications in Milwaukee, a one-hour drive away. The employee’s shift started at noon and ended at 9 p.m., so his commute home required nighttime driving. In 2016, the employee was diagnosed with early cataracts obstructing the center of his vision that might require surgery. Although his cataracts were rated as mild, even mild cataracts at the center of a person’s vision can cause problems.
The employee’s optometrist recommended that, because cataracts can cause blurriness in low-light conditions, the employee should avoid driving at night. To reduce the hazard of driving after dark, the employee asked Charter to modify his work schedule in August 2016. He asked to start earlier and leave earlier.
Charter granted his request, allowing him to start at 10 a.m. and end at 7 p.m., but only for 30 days. Before the 30 days ended, the employee asked to extend his modified schedule for another 30 days while he tried to move closer to the workplace. Charter’s…
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