Subordination Through Schedules

By Nicole Buonocore Porter. 

Our jobs are not only about the work we do—they are also about when and where we do that work. For a variety of reasons, employees with disabilities often seek modifications of their employers’ policies regarding when and where work is performed. These accommodations are often necessary for the employee to remain employed. The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, and these accommodations can include schedule changes. But research demonstrates that when responding to accommodation requests under the ADA, employers are often reluctant to grant requests to modify the rules regarding when and where work is performed, seeing these rules as unalterable. If an employee sues under the ADA, courts usually side with employers, thereby not requiring the employer to provide the modification sought by the disabled employee. Given that schedule changes are the most frequently requested accommodation under the ADA, the entrenchment of these scheduling rules causes many workers with disabilities to lose their jobs or otherwise suffer harm—in short, they are subordinated through their schedules. Full Article.