Under the ADA and the Florida Civil Rights Act, employers must accommodate disabilities that do not force undue hardship on the business.
Plaintiff bears the burden of suggesting an accommodation to the employer. Plaintiff must also show that the accommodation allows her to perform the main functions of the job. An employee is not entitled to the accommodation of her choice, but only to a reasonable accommodation.
Extended Medical Leave – Beyond FMLA
An accommodation is not reasonable if it does not allow the employee to perform the job duties in the present or in the near future. An employer is not required to provide an indefinite leave of absence.
An employer is not required to provide more than 12 weeks unpaid leave under FMLA. If an employer does allow extended medical leave, it is not protected. It becomes gray when an employee receives a termination notice while on extended leave days before they become eligible for additional FMLA leave. Here, the issue is whether the employee can perform the main job duties in the present or near future. In most cases an employer does not have to accommodate a disability by extending medical leave beyond what is required under the FMLA.
Employers cannot retaliate against an employee for opposing an unlawful employment practice. To establish a case of ADA retaliation, an employee must show:
- engaged in protected activity;
- suffered adverse employment action;
- causal connection between protected activity and adverse employment action.
Examples of engaging in protected activity include filing a charge of disability discrimination. An employee can also meet this first element by complaining to a supervisor or HR about discrimination.
The most difficult part is proving causation. Retaliation claims require proof that the employer’s desire to retaliate was the “but-for” cause of the employment action. This is a much higher standard than mixed-motive. A plaintiff may satisfy her burden of proving causation by demonstrating a “close temporal proximity between the statutorily protected activity and the adverse employment action. But mere temporal proximity, without more, must be very close in time.
For example, if you filed a charge of discrimination and the next day you’re fired, you have very close temporal proximity and will likely satisfy the element of causation. However, if you file a charge of discrimination and you’re fire six (6) months later, you’ll need to come forth with additional evidence proving that the motivation for your termination was the filing of a charge of discrimination.
For More Information
For more information about ADA disability law, reasonable accommodations, extending medical leave, and all other issue relating to employment law in Florida please visit The Longo Firm website and view our YouTube videos.