Case Study

Case Study


Review of the Case

The case involves Eric Employee who works as a receiver at Eggsellent Egg, Inc., a local grocery store chain in Alabama with 200 employees. During his work tenure, he is diagnosed with Parkinsons disease. This eventually affects his performance at work and his employers are looking at the best possible way to handle his situation with discriminating him based on his disability.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

When employees request for light duty assignments, careful considerations should be given to those requests. In the above case study, Erics request should be considered carefully. Various factors have to be taken into consideration before and after such requests are granted or denied (U.S. Department of Justice, 2009). The companys policy should guide me as the director of human resources on how to handle such matters. The first step would be for Eric to submit a written formal request for light duties. The request should be accompanied by all the needed medical documents and medical certification to support a requested light duty. This certificate must be signed by a licensed health care provider. The certificate should clearly indicate an assessment of the disability and its probable duration, prognosis for recovery, nature of work restrictions and an acknowledgement by the healthcare provider of the knowledge with the light duty assignment and the fact that an employee can physically assume the duties involved. I shall then forward these documents to my supervisors to make a recommendation.

I am obliged to recommend to my supervisors that Eric should be granted his request for light duty. My arguments would be based on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This act forbids any form of discrimination against qualified persons who are disabled and can perform their essential duties with or without reasonable accommodation (Cherner & Leon, 2002). This applies to those employers who have more than 15 employees in more than 20 weeks in a year including part time employees. The act also defines a disability as the physical, mental or psychiatric impairment that limits ones life activities. These life activities include, but not limited to sensory impairment, cognitive functions, essential life functions, physical activities, manual tasks and body function impairments. There are some employees who have disabilities and are qualified, then they can perform all essential functions of job with or without reasonable accommodation.

A reasonable accommodation is an adjustment to a job and its environment (U.S. Department of Justice, 2009). This would include an adjustment to the way things are done that would enable such a person to enjoy an equal employment opportunity. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) have requirements for accommodation in three fields: ensure equal opportunities during the application process, persons with disabilities are enabled to carry out their duties effectively, and to enable disabled employees enjoy equal employment benefits and privileges. These accommodations include improving the available facilities to accommodate employees with disabilities, restructure the job description and work schedules.

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Taking into account the guidelines provided by the ADA, I am obliged to recommend him to my supervisor so his request is granted. Moreover, I am also obliged to provide temporary accommodation for Eric while researching and waiting for his light duty request to be processed. From a moral point of view as an employer, I should try to make temporary accommodations even beyond the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, because this would show good faith in my accommodation efforts. Whilst researching on the best possible way to accommodate Eric, it would be reasonable to engage Eric in an informal process to understand what his needs are and identify the best way to accommodate him. This may include discussing the Parkinsons disease. In so doing, I should have some background information on the disease and identify the limitations it causes. This would help in selecting a long term, effective accommodation solution. Once his his limitations and abilities are identified, the next step would be to access the impact they have on his abilities to perform his duties.

The potential solutions to Erics disability would include reassigning him to perform light work that would not involve heavy lifting. Due to his speech impairment, he would not be taking orders from customers, either in person or through the phone. His duties would be limited to checking deliveries to verify the piece count and check for damages, sign for deliveries, coordinate returns, and other light work.

On the other hand, if Erics condition impairs him from doing his duties permanently, I would counsel him to apply for the medical disability retirement packet. I can also terminate his services when I study the financial costs in relation to his accommodation. Other problems such as him affecting the morale of other employees, interchangeability of the workforce and facilities, and the overall safety concerns can be termed as an excessive hardship.

The manager cannot legally terminate Eric, because of his disability, which unable him from lifting heavy items, troubleshoot equipments, generate reports or communicate with customers. This happens because Eric is disabled and protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) against discrimination based on his disabilities. Eric is suffering from Parkinsons disease in its advanced stages, it is recognized by the federal government as a disability, allowing those affected by it to be protected by the ADA. Human rights legislation and the common law also protect Eric from discriminating termination of employment.

When Erics performance at work was not satisfactory, the manager reassigned his duties without consulting or investigating the reports he had received. By doing so, he had discriminated against Erick by omitting him from the process. The guidelines provided by ADA require an employer and employee to discuss and find a reasonable solution to accommodate disabled employees.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008, it is not legally easy to terminate a disabled employee. Since according to the ADAAA, a disabled person is one who is impaired. It does not specify whether the impairment limits a major life activity or not. Employees with disabilities are entitled to accommodation within the workplace and an employer is required to do so. The ADA requires employers to provide employees with disabilities with equal access to programs granting flexible work schedules and modified schedules.

Even if the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protect Eric from discriminative dismissal, he must fulfill his obligation by doing his duties effectively. The manager has to show a reason for his action to fire Eric. He has to show that the proper operations of the organization are hampered excessively or that Eric would not be able to work for the reasonably foreseeable future. The manager has to show a case of undue hardship on the company (Acemoglu & Angrist, 1998).

The manager can make Eric go if he gives him a reasonable notice and a severance pay instead. But if Eric cannot no longer perform his duties because of a disability, which can be permanent, then the manager can say that his contract has been frustrated. When such case happens, the manager can dismiss Eric without severance or notice. On the other hand, if Erics condition is determined to hinder him from performing his regular duties permanently, the manager should assist him apply for the medical disability retirement.

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