ADA refresher for new year: Case highlights not-so-new employer duties

As we discussed in an article last month, employers have a duty under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities and engage in the interactive process to determine if any reasonable accommodations exist (see "Doctor's orders? Return-to-work instructions under the ADA" on pg. 4 of our December 2018 issue). Accommodations can sometimes be seen as "preferences" for a disabled employee that enable him to obtain the same workplace opportunities that employees without disabilities automatically enjoy. But what are an employer's obligations under the ADA? Is an employer permitted to treat a disabled employee differently in order to accommodate his disability? Let's take a look at a recent case in which the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi analyzed a hospital's termination of an employee who claimed she was unable to lift and push patients because of a shoulder injury.

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