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What are my rights when trying to return to Work?
Nov 18, 1997

I was employed with a major airline in Feb of 92. I had to leave in feb of 95 due to complications of Aids related KS. With the advent of new drugs and doing much better my doctor said I could return to work on a limited basis and released me to do so on January 29, 1997. It is now July 21 1997 and the airline has yet to allowed me to return to work. The core issue is the reduced hours I need to work to begin with to see how I can tolerate physically my return to work. The company has other employees working a position that would idealy fit my reduced seceduel needs. However, the company refuses to grant me one of thoes posiitons as a resoniable accomidation under ADA. Is this fair? Is this a violation of ADA? I worked full time with the company when I left, and the company says I must return to my full time position. If I take a part time postion I would go to the very bottom of the senority list. I would greatly appricate any help anyone could offer regarding this matter.

Response from Ms. Breuer

Without knowing more about your specific situation, it is difficult to determine whether your employer is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). What I can do, is explain to your employer's general obligation to accommodate your disability. Under the ADA, your employer is required to make reasonable attempts to accommodate your situation. Reasonable accommodation may include restructuring your work schedule to have more flexible hours. It may also include altering when and how your job gets done. In your situation, this could mean a part-time work schedule (as your employer has offered) or restructuring a full-time schedule to meet your needs. If there are other existing full-time positions available that meet your needs, the company should accommodate your request.

However, you should realize that your employer has the ultimate discretion to choose among the effective accommodations. An employer may reassign you to a lower status position if a vacant position of equal status is not available. The employer is not obligated to maintain your former salary. Moreover, The employer is not obligated to promote you or place you in a position of higher status as a reasonable accommodation. To the extent you are seeking a position or flight schedules that require you to have more seniority, your employer is not necessarily obligated to accommodate your request.

David Grunwald, Esq.,



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