One type of reasonable accommodation for an employee with a disability, who is unable to come back to work after FMLA leave, is additional unpaid time off. However, there are important limitations on this reasonable accommodation and the request to the employer will not work unless these important steps are taken. First, the requested additional time must be reasonable. There is no exact time that has been established as definitely reasonable. It depends on the circumstances, such as the size of the employer and any hardship which will be placed on the employer in allowing the extra time off. A large employer, with a big work force, would probably be able to do without the employee for a longer time than a small employer. The second important issue, which must be considered, is that the employee must give the employer a relatively definite time of the extra leave. It cannot be indefinite, as these type requests have been uniformly rejected by the courts as being unreasonable. So, the employee needs to give a definite time of leave (such as 5 weeks or 5 months) and then should back it up with a medical opinion stating that the employee needs “x” time off and a reasonably definite date to return. Also, it is critical that the medical opinion express that the extra time off would allow the employee to return to work and to be able to do all of the essential functions of the job. The medical opinion is very important, since the whole purpose of a reasonable accommodation is to allow the employee to be able to do the essential functions of the job. Also, an employee, just as much as the employer, must engage in the interactive process to discover a reasonable accommodation to allow the employee to perform the job. An employee cannot just reject the offered reasonable accommodation, without engaging in further discussion with the employee and exhausting all reasonable efforts. Also, the employee is not always entitled to an accommodation of his/her choice, but only one that is reasonable.
Home » Blog » REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION OF EXTRA TIME OFF TO RECOVER SHOULD BE SUPPORTED BY MEDICAL OPINION OF RETURN DATE & THAT LEAVE WILL ALLOW THE EMPLOYEE TO RETURN & PERFORM ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTIONS