What is light duty under the ADA and are employers protected?

On Behalf of Dunlap Fiore, LLC |

Louisiana employers and employees might be aware of the various laws that are in place to protect those who are disabled and are able to work. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a necessary piece of legislation that will regulate how employers will treat workers who are disabled. However, some employers could find themselves being confronted with allegations that they have violated employment law when they believe they have complied and are acting within their own best interests by refusing to do certain things based on reasonable accommodation.

Employers have the right to protect from lawsuits if they are justified in their actions. One question that frequently arises is whether the employer is obligated to provide light duty for a disabled employee. There can be numerous definitions of “light duty.” In general, it means temporary or permanent work that is less demanding than the regular job duties. This can be mental or physical. It depends on what the employer deems to be light duty as some view it as excusing a worker from certain parts of the job and others deem it to be giving the employee other duties entirely.

If the employer gives the worker a job that is sedentary or does not have the same demands as the regular job, this can be perceived as light duty. An employer does not need to find a light duty job for a worker who was injured while not on the job or a person who is disabled as part of reasonable accommodation. Employers are protected from undue hardship for their workplace. If the accommodations go beyond what is considered to be undue hardship, then the employer will not be violating the ADA by failing to accommodate the worker more than is required under employment law.

No employer wants to be perceived as unfriendly to workers who are disabled, but when running a business, there are certain factors that must be considered such as reasonable accommodation and how much giving light duty to a worker could harm the business if it is not necessary work. Employers have the right to defend themselves against unfounded or wrong allegations of violations of employment law with help from an experienced attorney.

Source: askjan.org, “2. Job Restructuring — b. Do employers have to provide light duty for employees with disabilities?,” accessed on Oct. 10, 2017