When an employee with a disability has a medically documented need to work out of the office, which could be reasonably accommodated by the employer and the employer refuses to do so, there may be instances where it is justifiable for the employee to resign. In McIntyre v. Archuleta, (W.D. Pa. July 29, 2015), the employee suffered from three primary medical conditions: Crohn’s disease, post-shingles neuralgia, and cancer and she requested her disability be accommodated by allowing her to work from home because her travel time to work caused her to be exhausted and her performance suffered. The employer denied the accommodation request in part, because it alleged that the employee’s work performance was poor, and “only employees with favorable performance evaluations” were eligible to work from home. Even though the ADA requires that an employer engage in an interactive process when an employee makes an accommodation requests, the employer did not engage in any interactive process with the employee to attempt to help the employee identify alternative accommodations. The employee then resigned her employment and retired. The employee alleged her performance problems were in large part caused by her fatigue that was, in turn, the result of her long commute to work and she contended that with an accommodation she would not have had those same problems. The court denied the defendant employer’s motion for summary judgment, holding that it is possible a fact finder could conclude that the Defendant’s refusal to accommodate her–and its failure to engage in the required interactive process with her–was a substantial part of the reason she was forced to resign. Thus, a fact finder could also plausibly conclude that, without an accommodation…the Defendant permitted conditions so unpleasant or difficult that a reasonable person would have felt compelled to resign.
For more information on the Americans with Disabilities Act, disability Discrimination, age discrimination and Abramson Employment Law, see http://www.job-discrimination.com/lawyer-attorney-1126511.htm, http://www.job-discrimination.com/lawyer-attorney-1126515.html.