Law Office Of Michael G. O’Neill, The Types of Cases We Handle
Disability Discrimination - Failure to Accommodate - Adult Attention Deficit Disorder - AADD - Workplace Assault

This prospective client has adult attention deficit disorder and works for a large bank. Individuals with AADD can handle most jobs, but they can benefit from accommodations that reduce distractions and increase the employee's ability to focus. They also sometimes need a little longer to perform tasks. Importantly, people with ADD are not dumb or stupid. While AADD is a disability of the mind, it is unfair to call it a mental illness, because we associate mental illnesses with "crazy".

The prospective client had asked the bank on many occasions for accommodations of this AADD, and for the most part, the bank had ignored his requests. He had been transferred to a new branch, and so he prepared an information sheet relating to his disability, and he asked to meet with his branch manager and district manager to go over his disability and requests for accommodation. At the meeting, one of the managers became impatient, told the employee to stop talking and grabbed the employee's paperwork from his hands. The requested accommodations were not given.

An employee is entitled to a reasonable accommodation for a disability to enable the employee to perform the essential functions of the job. In a case such as this, the issues are going to be what accommodation are reasonable and to what extent are they necessary to enable the employee to perform the functions of the job. The federal courts have made it clear that an employee is not entitled to the accommodation of his or her choice, but only to a reasonable accommodation. Employers frequently use this rule to offer "accommodations" that are unpalatable or unattractive to employees. The extent to which an employer must provide an employee with the accommodation requested (as opposed to some accommodation) has not yet been addressed in cases arising out of the New York City Human Rights Law, which is not bound by federal precedent. I can think of some very good arguments for not following the federal rule, and I look forward to making those arguments every chance I get.

This case has an interesting twist - the grabbing of the employee's papers from his hand. That is an assault, a battery also, under common law.

Back to Case Capsules