HR Management & Compliance

Disabilities: Employers Must Listen Carefully to Requests for Accommodations

By Teresa Shulda, JD

Sometimes it seems obvious that certain jobs require certain abilities. For example, pilots must have good vision to fly planes. And firefighters must be physically able to rescue people from burning buildings. But with other jobs, the job qualifications aren’t so obvious. That means the interactive dialogue between employers and employees or job applicants is even more important when a reasonable accommodation is requested.

In one recent case out of Wyoming, a deaf applicant argued that her hearing impairment wouldn’t prevent her from performing a job at a plasma center as long as she was provided certain reasonable accommodations. The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming) agreed that the applicant had at least presented enough evidence to plead her case to a jury.

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