Asheville, NC (CompNewsNetwork) - Our strategic partner, HR That Works!, notes that a federal appeals court decision provides some significant insight into what courts may consider to be “essential functions” and the importance of detailed job descriptions, in a case that arose under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Richardson v. Friendly Ice Cream Corporation. In this case, plaintiff Katherine Richardson alleged that Friendly’s violated the ADA by failing to accommodate her shoulder impingement injury, which occurred while she was grilling in the kitchen and scooping ice cream. While she was granted a leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act to undergo surgery, apparently, she never fully recovered from the injury, limiting her ability to do some manual tasks. When her leave expired, she was incapable of returning to work and was terminated.
The district court tossed the case out, ruling in favor of the restaurant, because Richardson was not a "qualified disabled individual" since she was unable to perform the essential functions of the job. Even though Richardson was in a management position, she was expected to chip in and help with everything from doing the fries to cleaning up … read more