On April 2, 2018, the Supreme Court declined to review a recent Seventh Circuit ruling in Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft Inc. The decision gained a lot of publicity in denying the availability of extended leave as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Seventh Circuit held that a two to three month leave of absence, following the exhaustion of an employee’s leave entitlement under the Family and Medical Leave Act, was not a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. Significantly, the Seventh Circuit characterized the ADA as an anti-discrimination statute, and not a leave entitlement statute.
Although the Seventh Circuit maintained that leave may be appropriate as a reasonable accommodation under certain circumstances, this decision was viewed as a major victory for employers. In denying review of this case, the Seventh Circuit decision stands: the ADA does not require employers to provide a multi-month leave beyond an employee’s entitlement under the FMLA. Other circuits have adopted similar positions.
Tristan & Cervantes provides counsel to clients regarding leave issues, as well as other employment related issues within the workplace. If you or your business have any questions regarding current policies or practices, please feel free to contact our office at email@example.com or 312.345.9200.