Inside: 5th Circuit finds ADA accommodation duty not limited to essential functions

Feist's case shows employers must seriously analyze all accommodation requests under the ADA

The duty to accommodate employees under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) took an unanticipated turn when the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit seemingly expanded that duty to include actions that did not concern the essential functions of the job.

Pauline Feist was an assistant attorney general for the Louisiana Department of Justice. She requested from her employer a free on-site parking space to accommodate her disability, osteoarthritis of the knee. That request was denied because she could not show the employer how the parking space would assist her in performing the essential functions of her job. She sued the state of Louisiana for disability discrimination, claiming the state had failed to accommodate her. The trial court agreed with the state and granted summary judgment on the failure-to-accommodate claim.

Contributing Author

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Howard Kastrinsky

Howard Kastrinsky is a partner at King & Ballow, a Meritas member firm, where he is head of the Employment and Discrimination Section....

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