Employers are required to reasonably accommodate disabled workers.
But what happens when that disabled worker can’t do their job?
Couldn’t perform essential duty
Charles Clark, a diabetic, was a personnel manager at Champion National Security.
He was caught sleeping on the job and was fired for violating the company’s alertness policy.
Clark sued his employer for violating the ADA. He said Champion National Security knew about his condition and was aware he went to the hospital for treatment after he fell asleep on the job. The company should’ve accommodated him, Clark said, and given him leeway with the alertness policy.
But the 5th Circuit sided with the company. It ruled that staying awake at work was an essential job function for Clark. Since he couldn’t stay awake, Clark wasn’t qualified to do his job.
Employers only have to accommodate qualified individuals under the ADA, the court said. Since Clark’s disability prevented him from performing his job properly, he wasn’t entitled to ADA protections.
Cite: Clark v. National Champion Security, Inc., 1/14/20.