ADA Accommodation Doesn’t Require Extension of FMLA Leave
An employee took a 12-week medical leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) due to his serious back pain. On the last day of his leave, he underwent back surgery, which required he remain off of work for another two or three months. His employer denied his request to continue his medical leave as he had exhausted his FMLA entitlement. The company terminated his employment, but invited him to reapply when he was medically cleared to work. After he was cleared, rather than reapply, he sued alleging the company discriminated against him in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), by failing to provide a reasonable accommodation, a 3-month leave of absence after his FMLA leave expired. The Seventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment for the employer, finding it was not required to accommodate the employee by granting him a multi-month leave of absence, nor did it have to accommodate him by reassigning him to a vacant position or creating a light duty position.