Sometimes it seems an employer has done a lot to accommodate an employee under the ADA, yet the employee claims the employer should have done more. The Seventh Circuit addressed such a situation in Swanson v. Village of Flossmoor (7th Cir. July 24, 2015).
A police detective in the Village of Flossmoor, IL had two strokes within six weeks. After the first stroke, the detective requested FMLA leave, which the Village granted. Three weeks later, pursuant to his doctor’s note, he requested to work part-time for a month, which the Village granted. A few weeks later, he had his second stroke, which left him unable to work at all.
Seven weeks after his second stroke, he applied for FMLA retroactively, which the Village granted. A week after his FMLA expired, he was released to return to work without restrictions but before he returned, he had another medical incident. He resigned five days later, stating that he was “simply physically unable to return to [his] duties” due to his stroke. He asked to stay on an unpaid leave of absence before retiring, which would allow him to continue to obtain health insurance. The Village granted his request. He applied to the Village Pension Board for a disability pension. The Board granted his request.
After his resignation, he filed an ADA charge, alleging that after his first stroke, he had asked for light duty and was told that light duty was not available. He claimed that the police department’s manual gave the department discretion to grant light duty and its failure to discuss that option with him was a failure to engage in the interactive dialogue required by the ADA.
The Seventh Circuit affirmed the lower court’s grant of summary judgment to the Village of Flossmoor. Flossmoor did enough, according to the Court.”[T]he Village’s accommodation (and, frankly, its general treatment of [the plaintiff] in the wake of his medical issues seems quite reasonable here.”