A request for a reserved, on-site, free parking space is a request for an accommodation under the ADA even though it does not relate to the performance of essential job functions, according to a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Feist v. State of Louisiana, (5th Cir. Sept. 16, 2013).

The plaintiff, a former assistant attorney general, sought the parking space due to a medical condition relating to her knee. Her employer denied the request. The district court granted summary judgment to the employer, holding that the plaintiff did not establish how the denial of the on-site parking limited her ability to perform her essential functions. 

Vacating that judgment, the court held that there are numerous categories of accommodation requests an employer must consider under the ADA. One of these requires an employer to make facilities readily accessible which, in this case, the parking space potentially would do for plaintiff. The court remanded the case but specifically expressed no opinion as to whether providing the parking space would be a reasonable accommodation.