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What is reasonable accomadtion for employers in Washington State?
Jun 15, 2005

Recently a client has tried to go back to their job, due to lymphadenopothy his legs swell and are very painful. It is difficult (impossible) for him to do construction work. Does his employer need to make reasonable accomadation under the ADA?

Response from Ms. Breuer

Reasonable accommodation means a change in the work situation that allows an employee to do the job--the whole job. If the person cannot do the job no matter what changes the employer makes in the job, it's not a question of reasonable accommodation anymore.

To use an extreme analogy, a ballet dancer with a broken ankle cannot be accommodated. If you can't dance at all, you can't do the job. This is where short-term and long-term disability leave enter the picture.

For a smart client, the constellation of symptoms could suggest job re-training for something he can do while seated. Is there an aspect of the job--such as responsibility for ordering materials--that this person could do for his present employer? It's time to think creatively. HIV has dealt him a difficult card for a construction worker.



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