A plaintiff’s claim that she was constructively discharged because her employer refused to transfer her to an office closer to the place where she received therapy to deal with the pain caused by her arthritis has survived her employer’s motion to dismiss.
The plaintiff worked in the home office of a child welfare agency. She asked the agency to accommodate her arthritic condition by transferring her to a field office closer to where she received therapy for her condition. This would enable to her to work a full day and then attend therapy after work. According to the court, the change in location would not have affected plaintiff’s ability to fulfill her responsibilities. Blickle v. Illinois Dep’t of Children and Family Services (N.D. Ill. June 7, 2013)
Nine months after her unsuccessful request for a change of worksite, the pain that resulted from her being unable to see her therapist as a result of the location of the home office led the 70 year old plaintiff to retire. In denying the motion to dismiss the ADA constructive discharge claim, the court held that a jury could find that “a reasonable person would resign instead of enduring severe pain to perform his or her job."
Numerous ADA accommodation cases involve a request for a schedule change to enable an employee to obtain medical treatment. Fewer involve a request for a change of worksite. As this case illustrates, changing an employee’s worksite to enable the employee to obtain medical treatment may be a reasonable accommodation in some circumstances.