His strategy – leverage some recent court decisions “guaranteeing” equal employment rights under the ADA in his favor. All he needs to do is find a mental or physical disability protected under the ADA.
His plan – find an ADA protected mental or physical disability. After proving that he suffers from a covered disability, the NBA will essentially be forced to accommodate his limitations.
Sound crazy? Maybe crazy like a fox…
Take a look at the recent appeals decision of Tobin v. Liberty Mutual. Plaintiff Tobin claimed his bipolar disorder caused a lack of focus and concentration. He couldn’t complete work on time, prioritizing was difficult and stress worsened his symptoms.
After 11 months of Liberty working with Tobin to accommodate his disability, he was fired for “consistent poor performance” that the company said lasted for years. Long story short – Tobin sued. Tobin won more than $1 million.
In another case, Titus v. Home Depot, a store manager suffered an injury on the job that caused permanent damage. The manager requested Home Depot make “reasonable accommodations” for him that included a promotion. The company declined, the manager sued and won.
Under the ADA, employers must “provide reasonable accommodation to qualified individuals with disabilities who are employees or applicants for employment, unless to do so would cause undue hardship.” (EEOC)
“Unless an employer can prove it would suffer “undue hardship” in the operation of the business, the employer is required to provide the requested accommodation,” says Rupe.
As it turns out, the older Rupe gets, the better chance he has at joining the NBA. Like I said, crazy like a fox.
New amendments to the ADA effective January 1, 2009, expanded the definition of disability. And as some experts predicted, reasonable accommodation requests have become more frequent and complicated.
Be prepared to handle and know how to document reasonable accommodation requests with tools like the ComplyRight ADA Administration System. With this supply of ADA forms, information and tip sheets, you’ll be ready to manage employee requests.
With Rupe on the way, maybe the NBA should look into it, too.