Management's Workplace Lawyers

ADA Reasonable Accommodation – Accessibility and Usage.

October 30, 2013

In evaluating the reasonable accommodation obligation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit held that accommodations need not be related only to the performance of essential job functions, but may involve usage and accessibility to facilities.   In Feist v. Louisiana, the employee, after being denied a parking accommodation, sued for failure to accommodate.  The federal district court dismissed her claim because the employee did not establish that the denial of her requested accommodation limited her ability to perform the essential functions of her job.  The 5th Circuit, however, said that an accommodation does not have to facilitate the performance of essential functions in order to be reasonable under the ADA.  Accommodations are also required to make the facilities “readily accessible and usable by individuals with disabilities.”  Thus, employers should not evaluate accommodation requests only with regard to the essential functions of an employee’s job, but should consider accessibility and usage of its facilities as well.