The issue with a case in New York City, where the medication a disabled case worker employee was taking medication was not with the fact that it was impairing his job performance, rather that the medication used to control the disability had a side effect of drowsiness, says Paul Mollica, employment lawyer with Outten and Golden in New York.
This person's employer maintained a flexible work policy that required employees to be at their desks by 10:15. However, due to the side effects associated with the medication this employee was taking, he was not able to show up until 11:00. When a new manager came in, it was decided that situation needed to end and he was penalized with suspension.
Mollica says that a district court judge found initially that this claim couldn't prevail because timely attendance is always an essential function in the workplace. The employee then brought an appeal to the second circuit which held that on certain cases, offering employees flexible hours may be a reasonable accommodation if they allow the employee to perform their job duties.
Mollica believes that employers need to weigh the balances and see if imposing a strict schedule can affect the rights of people with disabilities. The employee in this case feels he's entitled to the accommodation because it entitled him to do his job, adds Mollica.
Paul Mollica is counsel for Outten and Golden LLP, a law firm focusing on employment law. For more information on Paul Mollica, click here. For more information on the case referenced in this video, visit the Employment Law Blog. Paul’s commentary was hosted by the Employment Law Channel, part of The Legal Broadcast Network.