Court: Move Fast to Provide ADA Accommodations

March 14, 2006 ( - Even if employers engage in a dialogue with an employee over potential Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations, they may still be liable for discrimination if they do not move quickly to implement those accommodations.

That was the bottom line of an 8 th US Circuit Court of Appeals decision in a case involving a UPS manager who was not provided with his requested accommodation for emotional illnesses – a summary of topics for discussion prior to regular meetings with his manager.

Appellate judges agreed with a lower court ruling by US District Judge Rodney Webb of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas that UPS was guilty ofADA violations for not reasonably trying to provide him accommodations. Webb denied punitive damages.

According to court documents, UPS manager Raymond Battle was required by his supervisor, Dwayne Meeks, to research and memorize extensive, information from the daily UPS operations report. IfBattle did not answer Meeks’ questions, Meeks berated him in front of other employees.

Battle became increasingly frustrated and depressed and eventually suffered a nervous breakdown in May 2003. He requested and was granted leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act for job-related stress.

Court records show thatBattle argued to the company in August that he could do the job with the accommodation and that he needed the meeting agenda to be properly prepared. By early October, according to the documents, the company was still considering the request for the meeting agendas.

AfterBattle filed suit, a District Court jury trial found Battle was disabled and that UPS discriminated against him in violation of the ADA.

While UPS had engaged in a dialogue withBattle, the jury believed that UPS had not acted in good faith after Battle submitted a report indicating that he could perform the essential job functions with or without accommodation.

The ruling in Battle v. United Parcel Service Inc., 8th Cir., No. 04-4123/04-4128 (Feb. 21, 2006) ihere .