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I was hired as a mental health peer professional for a behavioral

healthcare company that serves the...
I was hired as a mental health peer professional for a behavioral healthcare company that serves the chronically psychiatrically ill population. I was told during the interviewing process that there was an on call requirement for this job. Team members rotate and have the on call phone for ine week and it is a 24/7 respinsibility. I had not worked full time prior to this job for 25 years because of my disability. When I was working at this position for almost 4 months, my on call duty was about to commence. Having just adjusted to the full time schedule and having seen my co workers struggle with the burden of on call, I realized that this task which I was sincerely XXXXX XXXXX for when accepting this job, would prove detrimental to my health. My regular sleep cycle has been a critical component instaying well. So I asked my supervisor for some sort of accomodation for the on call requirement. She said I was told during the interviews that this is a required task and dismissed my request for an accomodation in spite of my disclosure from the beginning that I have bipolar disorder. Is this discrimination under the ADA?
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Answered in 7 minutes by:
7/9/2013
Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19,348
Experience: Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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Thank you for your question today, I look forward to assisting you. I bring nearly 20 years of legal experience in various disciplines.

The ADA does not require that an employer remove required functions of a job. It requires that an employer give reasonable accommodations that would allow you to still meet the same requirements as everyone else, just in a different way.

For instance, if you had a vision problem the employer doesn't have to allow you to not produce the same amount of computer work as everyone else, but rather, the employer would have to give you a special computer that woud work with your vision problem.

So, the issue is not about reducing the standard, but making it so that you can meet the standard. If your position is that you can't do the required on call due to your disability, that is not a "reasonable accommodation" because it is not about helping you meet the standard, but rather, you are asking that the standard be removed entirely due to your disability.

Generally speaking, the ADA is not going to require that. Now, you can challenge whether or not it should be a required task, but if everyone else has to do it too, it's going to be legal to require you to do it as well. You have not said that they are targeting you for this extra duty, while not making others do it. That really cuts against any sort of ADA discrimination claim.

You can certainly contact the EEOC to have them review the situation. You can allege that they have refused to grant you a reasonable accommodation. The employer will state that the accommodation is not reasonable, because it forces them to create a position that has a required function removed. The EEOC can agree with the employer or you, but on just the facts you've outlined the EEOC is most likely to find no cause for an ADA claim. I'm sorry.
Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19,348
Experience: Employment/Labor Law Litigation
Verified
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Experience: Employment/Labor Law Litigation

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