When a disabled employee needed an accommodation in order to continue doing his job, his employer suggested one.
But when the employee had other ideas, he took his company to court.
Demanded new position
Charles Elledge worked at a Lowe’s in North Carolina conducting store inspections. This involved a lot of walking.
After undergoing knee surgery, Elledge wasn’t able to walk for extended periods of time. It was clear he would need an accommodation.
Lowe’s suggested that Elledge use a motorized scooter to help him get around the stores, but Elledge declined that option without giving a reason. Instead, he requested a reassignment. Lowe’s tried to match him to a new position, but upon learning all available positions would be demotions, Elledge quit and sued for an ADA violation.
Elledge tried to argue that Lowe’s failed to accommodate him because he wasn’t offered a reassignment he wanted, but the 4th Circuit disagreed.
First, the court pointed out that Lowe’s had participated in the interactive process by offering Elledge the motorized scooter as an accommodation. Elledge is the one who disrupted the process by outright declining that.
The court went on to say that the ADA considers reassignment as a “last resort,” seeing as it could severely disrupt company processes.
Cite: Elledge v. Lowe’s, 11/18/20.