Magazine article Security Management

Ada

Magazine article Security Management

Ada

Article excerpt

A federal appeals court has ruled that a supervisor was unlawfully terminated for defending an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodation for an employee.

In early 1997, Jane Foster was hired by Time Warner as supervisor of customer service representatives in Fayetteville, Arkansas. One of the employees she supervised was Kevin Terry, who suffered from nocturnal seizures due to epilepsy. Terry told Foster that it was difficult for him to get to work on time in the morning because of the seizures and that sometimes the seizures were so severe that he was unable to come to work. Terry asked if he could come in late on some days and stay late to make up the time. He also told Foster that his previous manager allowed such an arrangement. Foster consulted the company manual. It included epilepsy in its definitions of disabilities covered by the ADA. The manual also listed flexible work schedules under possible accommodations for the disability. Foster agreed to allow Terry a flexible schedule.

Several weeks later, Terry told Foster that his medication had been changed and that he was experiencing more frequent seizures as a result. He said that he would adjust to the new medication in about two months but requested that he be allowed to come in late and work late more often until he became accustomed to the new medication. Terry's coworkers became angry about this accommodation and complained to Cindy Snyder, Foster's supervisor, about the arrangement. When Snyder told Foster about the complaints, Foster told her that Terry was covered by the ADA and should be granted the accommodation.

Snyder then issued a new sick leave policy that prohibited employees from making up time missed because of illness. On several separate occasions, Foster asked Snyder how the policy would affect Terry. In response to Foster's questions, Snyder said that Terry "needed to come to work," that the issue was "none of [Foster's] business," and that "we don't need to follow the ADA." In a written memo about Terry, Snyder wrote that "the ADA doesn't say that he doesn't have to come to work every day and it doesn't mean we have to let him make it up...sick time is not to be made up. By him or anyone else. …

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