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No Reasonable Accommodation Claim based on Disabled Employee's Dissatisfaction with Amount of Time spent on Interactive Process, according to the Seventh Circuit
The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently held that an employee could not proceed on a failure to provide reasonable accommodation claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") where her employer engaged in an ongoing interactive process to identify proper accommodations.
After being terminated for poor performance, the plaintiff, a city project manager who suffered from Multiple Sclerosis, filed suit alleging that the termination violated the ADA and that the city failed to provide requested accommodations. Prior to her diagnosis, the employee spent 70% of her time doing field work. She was no longer able to meet these demands after her diagnosis, and her physician restricted her to a desk position 3-4 days per week instead. The employee also requested a closer parking spot and a personal printer in her office, since her condition made walking difficult. In holding that summary judgment was proper as to her failure to accommodate claim, the Seventh Circuit reasoned that the employee's allegation that it took too long to arrive at an effective accommodation was not borne out by the record. The evidence shows instead that the parties were equal participants in the interactive process during the several months it took to find the most appropriate parking obligation and the several weeks it took to get a printer. Moreover, once the city found out that a proposed accommodation was insufficient, it acted to quickly implement new accommodations that might be more effective. Read more.