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Is it a violation of ADA rights if I reported a recent

Good evening, Lawyer's Assistant:...

Good evening,

Lawyer's Assistant: Hi. How can I help?

Is it a violation of ADA rights if I reported a recent diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome and due to the extensive typing I perform as part of my job duties, I requested accommodations such as speech to text software ($250) and an ergonomic keyboard ($46.99) and after difficulty with obtaining the items, I filed a workers compensation claim and was put on involuntary sick leave

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you discussed this workers' compensation issue with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?

Employer is using my accrued sick time. With all of the individuals you mention

Lawyer's Assistant: Are you an "at will" employee? Do you belong to a union?

I am a certificated employee in a school district and belong to the teachers union for our district.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Two of the workers compensation doctors I saw as part of the claim process released me back to work with modifications and restrictions. Without any attempt to provide the accommodation or allowing me to discuss the duties I could perform that were time sensitive, the Risk Management department dismissed me from work. Stating they could not accommodate

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
Will this question be answered tonight?
Answered in 1 hour by:
3/28/2018
Patrick, Esq.
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 13,882
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
Verified

Hello and welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** it will be my pleasure to answer your question.

Whether or not an ADA violation occurred depends on two things. First, whether your carpal tunnel syndrome rose to the level of a disability. In order for this to be the case, it must be so severe as to "significantly impair a major life function." For example, if you were unable to eat, perform basic hygiene tasks such as combing your hair or brushing your teeth, etc. If your condition does not rise to this level, then you would not have any legal protection.

The second issue is whether your requested accommodations were reasonable, as an employer is only obligated to provide was is reasonable, meaning what does not result in significant hardship or expense. The cost of the items you were requesting was probably not so excessive as to be deemed unreasonable, so you most likely would not have much trouble with this aspect of a claim.

Most likely your challenge will be in establishing that your condition was severe enough to constitute a disability and that your employer was aware it was this severe. Simply having pain and discomfort that would be alleviated by the accommodations you were requesting would not be enough. You need to be able to argue that it rose to the level of a disability. But if you can do that, then it is very possible that you could have a claim. Your first step in that regard would be to file a complaint with the EEOC. The EEOC will investigate your claim and attempt to mediate a resolution with your employer. That not forthcoming, they will issue you a "right to sue" letter, which will enable you to pursue a lawsuit with the assistance of a local employment attorney.

I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.

* Disclaimer *

Just Answer is a venue for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is formed by these communications.

Patrick, Esq.
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 13,882
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
Thank you Patrick. If I may, I would like to ask if the following information would satisfy the level of disability. I completed the nerve conduction and muscle stimulation tests, which as absolutely objective, not based on my subjective report of symptoms. I relayed the results that the diagnosis was severe for my right hand and moderate for my left. In addition, irreparable nerve damage and muscle atrophy was detected. The information I shared as I continually tried obtaining, what the HR and Risk Management directors both stated were "reasonable accommodations" was that each day I continued to type (perform the repetitive motion) several hours a day I was risking more permanent nerve damage in addition to the pain escalating to severe. When the Risk Management Director informed me that this was a "favor" and I did not provide any documentation of medical necessity (although I asked the HR director if any additional information or documentation from my doctor was necessary to process the request for the accommodations and was advised no), I filed a workers compensation claim. After which time, I have been seen by two of the doctors contracted by the school district (employer) and their insurance company. Both agreed with the diagnosis and severity. Released me back to work with the modifications of limited use of both hands and wrists and the first added "no typing" while the second doctor expanded and stated "no typing - use of dictation software." The software was going to be loaded on my computer on 3/21/18; however, on 3/20/18 I was told to stay home on medical leave while the insurance adjuster investigated the claim. I begged the Risk Management Director and even my direct supervisor to allow me to do other duties which wouldn't violate the dr's restrictions; however, where due that week and were going to create a major inconvenience to other staff members, parents and possibly delay students with identified learning disabilities from receiving special education services. They declined to even discuss this and repeatedly stated "we cannot accommodate the doctor's restrictions and modifications."
Customer reply replied 25 days ago
I will make a request for a live phone call tomorrow. It is late in the evening and I have surgery in the morning. Not feeling up to a phone conversation tonight.

Thank you for you reply. Yes, you are certainly free to request a phone call tomorrow. Based on what you are describing it seems quite possible the condition rises to the level of a disability. The question may be whether you can be accommodated without imposing undue hardship on your employer. It's not just the cost to be considered, but if you are unable to perform all the essential job functions with your restrictions, then the accommodation is not reasonable.

Anyway, I just wanted to respond to your post, but as stated above you are certainly free to followup further tomorrow with a phone call.

Best,

Patrick

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