Milledgeville, GA asked in Employment Law and Employment Discrimination for Georgia

Q: My husband is being forced to take leave without pay due to some medical restrictions that have been placed on him.

They have made no attempts since he returned to work in May for reasonable accommodations. His restrictions are only no driving and no working on elevated surfaces or climbing ladders or stairs. The dr request was for him to be able to do table top work or desk work. Based on the ADA how can they do this???

2 Lawyer Answers
Kyle Anderson
Kyle Anderson
  • Employment Law Lawyer
  • Columbus, OH

A: They may not be able to. It sounds like they are saying he needs to be "100% healed" to return to work. This may be a violation of the ADA. I would reach out to an employment law attorney in your state for a consultation and to discuss options.

J. Heath Dillon agrees with this answer

J. Heath Dillon
J. Heath Dillon
  • Leesville, LA

A: I, like my colleague, recommend your husband discuss his situation with an employment law attorney in his geographic area.

FYI - there are many factors to consider when determining whether the ADA applies to your husband's situation. The severity of his medical conditions, the pervasiveness of them and how they impact a major life function(s) are all factors in determining whether he has a "disability" covered by the ADA, for example. Not every medical condition is considered a disability.

Additionally, depending on your husband's position and the significant duties associated with it, there may not be a reasonable accommodation available. In that case, leave without pay until your husband is able to perform the essential functions of his job would be appropriate. For example - an employer might not be required to place a general construction worker into an office job - the duties of these positions are completely different.

Lastly, the law does not give a treating physician the ability to decide for an employer what job to place an employee in based on medical restrictions. Instead, the care provider should describe the medical condition and what impacts that condition has on the employee (and any physical or mental limitations incurred as a result of the medical condition). It is then up to the employer to figure out if he has any requirements, consistent with the employer's position description, that can be performed by the employee consistent with the medical limitations.

So, as you can see, this area of the law is relatively fact specific and can be complicated. Consultation with an employment law attorney is your husband's best bet. In the meantime, I wish him a speedy recovery.

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