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RobertJDFL, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 13665
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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I am an employer with 8 employees including me I have an

Customer Question

I am an employer with 8 employees including me I have an employee who has a pre existing condition. He has a letter from a doctor for light duty work for a duration of 2 weeks
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: I am unable to accommodate as there are no light duty positions within my company am I required to accommodate the employee?
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: Vermont
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: He has not demonstrated that the condition is related to this job. He has a number of pre existing conditions
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 7 months ago.

Thank you for using Just Answer. I am a licensed attorney and look forward to helping you. I am reviewing your question and will reply back shortly.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
The language in the letter is "recurrent overuse tendinitis"
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 7 months ago.

Thank you for your patience - I wanted to review state laws to see if they were more rigid in their requirements than federal law.

There is no requirement, however, under federal or state law, that says an employer must create a light duty job for an employee if one does not exist. While you should make every effort to make reasonable accommodations, if an employer would face an undue hardship in doing so (it would be very expensive to do so, for example) then the employer need not make such accommodation.

If there truly is no work this employee could do, they could use vacation/sick time if any, or otherwise take unpaid leave, until such time they are able to return back to their regular position.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
other research tells me that having 8 employees I'm not covered by ADA requirements. Employers with more than 15, correct?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
This answer is too vague. Can you help more please? He was hired to deliver packages within a certain geographic area. We have no control over the weight of the packages. His restriction is 20 pounds. Yes, some are less but some are more. It does create an undue hardship on the company to have a helper and/or another driver service those lighter packages.
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 7 months ago.

The Vermont Fair Employment Practices Act prohibits employment practices that discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability (VT Stat. Tit. 21 Sec. 495et seq.). The Act covers all employers, regardless of size. Thus, while the ADA applies to employers with 15 or more employees, Vermont's law applies ADA regulations while enforcing fair employment practices to all employers in Vermont.

Under the act, "Reasonable accommodation" means the changes and modifications which can be made in the structure of a job or in the manner in which a job is performed unless it would impose an undue hardship on the employer. Reasonable accommodation may include: (A) making the facilities used by the employees, including common areas used by all employees such as hallways, restrooms, cafeterias and lounges, readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities; and (B) job restructuring, part-time or modified work schedules, acquisition or modification of equipment or devices and other similar actions; (C) factors to be considered in determining whether an undue hardship is imposed by the requirement that reasonable accommodation be made for an individual with a disability include: (i) the overall size of the employer's operation with respect to the number of employees, number and type of facilities, and size of budget; and (ii) the cost for the accommodation needed.

Given the smaller size of your business and the cost involved to meet his need (hiring someone else to go with him to handle any packages over 20 pounds, thus taking on another employee which may not be feasible), you could argue that it is an undue hardship. Nowhere in the ADA will you find a requirement that you must create a light duty job for this employee. I can't point you to where it says that, because it simply doesn't exist. Your obligations to an employee with a disability are to try to make reasonable accommodation, and nothing else.