Too Little, Too Late

By Brooke Colaizzi

ADA: Last Minute Accomodation Request

Passing an investment advisor licensing exam was required for the job. The employee had already failed the exam four times and was about to lose his job when he suggested his failures might relate to his disability and asked for an extension of time as an accommodation.

The First Circuit Court of Appeals (which sits in Boston) held that the last-minute request was not reasonable. Instead, the request was just an attempt to avoid termination. Also, the employer had no reason to believe that an extension would allow the employee to pass the test.

The employee suffered chronic pain and atrophy in his left arm from a motorcycle accident, but had worked without requesting any accommodation. The Court bypassed the question of whether the employee was “disabled” under the ADA and focused instead on the issue of “reasonable accommodation.” In the wake of the 2008 amendments to the ADA, we expect many other courts similarly to focus on accommodation, not disability. Jones v. Nationwide Life Ins. Co., No. 12-1414 (1st Cir. 2012).