11th Circuit Holds That ADA Does Not Require Employers to Create Light Duty Position



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.