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Wisconsin reasonable accommodation dispute ends in settlement

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to make accommodations, if requested, for workers who suffer from mental or physical disabilities. In situations that involve a disability, the employer and worker generally work out a reasonable accommodation that allows the employee to perform his or her job duties. In a recent case here in Wisconsin, a former Juneau County deputy agreed to a settlement with the county after he claimed that his workplace failed to make accommodations for his epilepsy.

The deputy only became aware of his epilepsy after having a seizure while he was off duty. After he informed his employer, he was moved to jail duty. However, he suffered his next seizure at work, which resulted in medical leave.

He intended on returning to work, and his co-workers reportedly wanted him to come back. County officials, however, wanted to wait for approval from his medical provider before allowing him to return. Instead, he obtained employment elsewhere and went to the Wisconsin Equal Rights Division to file a claim that his legal rights had been violated. His attorney wanted to clarify that the complaint was more about lost wages than discrimination.

In the end, the county agreed to pay the former deputy $13,000 in damages for the reasonable accommodation complaint. In return, the county admits no wrongdoing, nor is it subject to future claims by the former deputy. When it comes to employment issues like this, it is often in the best interests of both parties to settle out of court. But first, the employee who feels that he or she has been wronged must take that first step toward obtaining a resolution.

Source: Reedsburg Star-Times, Juneau County pays $17,000 in settlement with epileptic former deputy, Pete Rebhahn, Feb. 26, 2014

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