Companies Should Provide a Reasonable Amount of Time to Return to Work After Amputation

     The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently filed a lawsuit alleging that Heritage Home Group, LLC denied a reasonable accommodation to one of its employees and subsequently fired the employee because of his disability.  The EEOC’s lawsuit claims that  a machine operator was diabetic and developed an infection in one of his toes, requiring amputation.  After the amputation, the employee was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy in both of his feet.  The lawsuit further alleges that around April 8, 2016, the employee, who was on short-term disability leave, told the company that he needed more time to recover and that he planned to return the first week of June.  In response, the company sent a letter to the employee dated April 29, 2016 informing him that he was terminated because he could not return to work until June.  The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that companies provide a reasonable accommodation for disabled employees, unless the accommodation would create an undue hardship on the company.  See EEOC v. Heritage Home Group, LLC,  No. 5:18-cv-00018 (W.D.N.C.).

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