On April 7, 2016, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed that an employer is not required to create a permanent light-duty position for an employee as part of the Americans With Disabilities Act’s “reasonable accommodation” requirement. See Frazier-White v. Gee, No. 15-12119, 2016 WL 1376448 (11th Cir. Apr. 7, 2016).
In Frazier-White, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office implemented a policy that limited light-duty work to 270 days within a two-year period. The employee was terminated after a due process hearing during which it was demonstrated that she was on light duty for 299 days with no definite expectation of returning to full-duty. As part of the termination proceedings, the employee asked for “an extension to continue to receive care” so that she could “get better and return to full duty 100%.” The Eleventh Circuit found that a request for an indefinite extension of light-duty work is unreasonable as a matter of law. The Court further found that the Sheriff’s Office was not required to create a permanent light-duty position.
The issue of light-duty positions for injured employees is a complex one, which I previously discussed here: AM I REQUIRED TO CREATE A LIGHT DUTY POSITION FOR AN EMPLOYEE INJURED ON THE JOB?
While Frazier-White provides assistance to employers faced with light-duty issues, you should proceed carefully and consult with your attorney before taking any action relating to employees on light-duty.