I’ve written before about the need for flexibility in exploring requests from disabled employees for reasonable accommodation. This is especially important when the employee presents with an unusual disability or accommodation request (such as an employee at a broadcast satellite service provider asking not to have to view combat footage).
In a case last week out of the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Ekstrand v. School District of Somerset (pdf), a teacher argued that she needed a classroom with windows as an accommodation for seasonal affective disorder. The employer won on summary judgment, but the appellate court reversed and the case proceeded to trial. The employee won at trial and won again on appeal. Lots of employees want windows in their workspace. But this one had a doctor’s note saying that she needed one.
I learned of this case from reading Robin Shea’s Employment and Labor Insider. She talks about this and other unusual accommodation requests (including miniature horses as service animals) here.
So the takeaway is this: Make sure that the employees in your organization who receive accommodation requests understand what the law requires of employers in those situations or that they know where to go for assistance.