What happens when a worker’s disability limits the number of hours they can work?
In a recent case, a court decided companies aren’t obligated to adjust full-time positions into part-time ones.
Job share arrangement
Janet Perdue worked as a pharmaceutical sales rep at Sanofi-Aventis in South Carolina.
She was later diagnosed with a brain tumor, which affected her ability to walk and see. After the tumor was removed, Perdue’s doctor said she was only able to work a maximum of 30 hours a week.
The company had a flexible work policy, which included the potential for a job share arrangement. Perdue requested to split her job duties with another employee as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.
The company considered Perdue’s request, but ultimately denied it due to concerns about Perdue’s job share partner’s competency. Sanofi-Aventis offered other accommodation options, but Perdue rejected them. She then sued for an ADA violation.
But the 4th Circuit ruled in favor of the company. The court said the company did its part by considering Perdue’s job share request, but it wasn’t obligated to grant the request if it would put a burden on the company.
Employers aren’t obligated to create or heavily modify positions, even for disabled employees.
Cite: Perdue v. Sanofi-Aventis LLC, 6/8/21.