Employers Must Accommodate Commute

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit says an employer must make reasonable accommodations to a disabled employee’s reasonable commuting needs.  In Colwell v. Rite Aid Corporation, Jeanette Colwell had an eye disease that made driving at night impossible.  She asked to be moved to a day shift.  Rite Aid refused, claiming that the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) only protected employees in the workplace.  Click here to read the full case.  The Third Circuit disagreed, holding that “there is nothing inherently unreasonable, given the stated views of Congress and the agencies responsible for overseeing the federal disability statutes, in requiring an employer to furnish an otherwise qualified disabled employee with assistance related to her ability to get to work.”  WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU:Although it’s not yet clear whether this case is controlling in New England, Employers should take seriously a disabled employee’s request to reasonably accommodate commutes.  Employees should contact an attorney if an employer refuses to accommodate a reasonable request for modification of work demands to accommodate a disability that manifests itself during a commute.  Contact Muller Law to see if this case applies to your situation.