Wednesday, January 4, 2012

CDCR Failed to Provide Reasonable Accommodations

In Cohen v. CDCR (2nd DCA, B226762) December 22, 2011, 2011 WL 6739621, the Court of Appeal found CDCR failed to provide reasonable disability accommodations to a correctional employee. The employee sufferred an injury which limited her ability to carry heavy items and requested accommodations. Her doctor determined she could perform the essential job functions and suggested a reasonable accommodation of a cart to assist her in moving about the large facility.

However, CDCR ultimately moved her office to an area of the prison approximately one mile away from where she treated her patients which made it difficult for her to complete work in her office. She also had to find a bench or a vacant room to complete her work resulting in her having to transport all of her files as she moved about the facility. During this time, she missed several days of work and ended up taking 392 more hours of leave than she was allowed.

The Court found that if CDCR had reasonably accommodated the employee's limitations, her attendance would have been sufficient. The Court further found the employer had not offered a reasonable accommodation, noting all other employees had an office space in an appropriate place to meet with patients.