An amputee’s request for work breaks to adjust his prosthesis may be a request for an accommodation under the ADA, according to a federal district court. Morton v. Cooper Tire & Rubber (N.D. MS, June 18, 2013). The employee was training to operate a machine which ran for twelve hour shifts. To complete the training, an employee must "keep pace with the machine" for a full twelve hour shift. While it usually takes two weeks to complete the training, after 30 days, the plaintiff was still unable to keep pace with the machine for a twelve hour shift. He said he could not do so because of his prosthetsic leg and asked for breaks at the beginning and end of the shift and lunch to readjust his prosthesis because sweat causes it to rub his skin and cause blisters and sores. The plaintiff claimed he was not given the breaks he requested, and then was given the offer to resign or be terminated.
The plaintiff claimed he was terminated because of his disability and that the employer failed to accommodate his disability. The parties agreed that operating the machine for an entire shift is an essential function. The issue was whether the plaintiff could have performed that function with an accommodation, i.e., the requested breaks. The court denied the employer’s motion for summary judgment.