Labor and Employment - Disability Discrimination

 March 21, 2012

Avoiding Disability Discrimination


Recently, the Appellate Court reached a decision which once again demonstrates the importance of the interactive process when dealing with alleged claims of disabilities. The fact pattern presented is one from the fringe. I surmise that unlike Warren County, many employers across the state might have completely disregarded the plaintiff's claims as freakish and unwarranted (as opposed to situations where employees are in wheelchairs and have more visible disabilities). Instead, this employer took the claim of migrane headaches and hypersensitivity seriously, investigated the matter and made the reasonable accommodations necessary to thwart any later claims of discrimination. Please take the time to review the decision below, and contact us with any questions.
- J. Andrew Kinsey

LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT - DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION

25-2-5557 Zack v. State of New Jersey, App. Div. (per curiam) (14 pp.) Plaintiff, who suffers from migraine headaches as the result of a work-related head injury that caused hypersensitivity to light and odors such as perfume, appeals the grant of defendants' motion for summary judgment dismissing her complaint that alleged discrimination under the Law Against Discrimination and the Family and Medical Leave Act. The panel affirms, finding that defendant-employer diligently investigated plaintiff's requests for accommodations and implemented an array of accommodations that directly and reasonably responded to her specific needs, including relocating and retrofitting her workstation to accommodate her sensitivity to light and her coworkers adjusted their work environment and personal grooming habits to accommodate her sensitivity to perfumes, and that no reasonable jury could find that defendants failed to provide plaintiff with a reasonable accommodation to enable her to perform the essential function of her job. The court also finds no evidence that defendants violated plaintiff's rights under the FMLA but instead indulgently permitted her to take full advantage of her entitled leave.

Click Here for Full Details on the Case

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