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Reasonable Accommodation Denied - Motion for Summary Judgment Granted to Defendants because Accommod


People have tremendous rights under the Human Rights Law (New York City, New York, etc.) Americans with Disabilities Act and its Amendments:

The ADA requires that employers "mak[e] reasonable accommodations to the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability." 42 U.S.C. § 12112(b)(5)(A). A reasonable accommodation "enable[s] an individual . . . to perform the essential functions of that position . . . [or] to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment." 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(o)(1). The NYCHRL similarly mandates that employers "make reasonable accommodation to enable a person with a disability to satisfy the essential requisites of a job or to enjoy the right or rights in question." N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 8-107(15)(a).

Here, the Plaintiff, Kelly, was assigned to be a Service Express Agent. The Agent position is staffed twenty four hours a day across three shifts, assigned by seniority, to which Kelly was assigned the overnight shift. Kelly, as an Agent, worked the midnight shift for three years. Kelly eventually moved, as per seniority, to the afternoon shift but was still required, as needed, to work the midnight (overnight) shift.

After providing a note to Kelly's employer, Kelly made a request, or what is termed as a reasonable accommodation, of her employer requesting that she be accommodated insofar as Kelly "avoid working long hours and night shifts...not assigning her to work double or overnight shifts." Kelly's employer asked for additional information and the doctor provided the conclusion that Kelly not be schedule to work longer than seven hours per day nor on shifts beginning later than 8:00 PM. Is this a reasonable accommodation to request and to be made by the employer?

The employer denied Kelly's request for a reasonable accommodation. In return, Kelly was forced to take leave and nights off when requested to work these nights.

Where an employer has allegedly declined to offer a reasonable accommodation to a qualified employee, courts apply the burdenshifting framework established in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 802-05 (1972). See McBride v. BIC Consumer Prods. Mfg. Co., 583 F.3d 92, 96-97 (2d Cir. 2009). But, where "the employer has already taken (or offered) measures to accommodate the disability, the employer is entitled to summary judgment if, on the undisputed record, the existing accommodation is plainly reasonable. In other words, the plain reasonableness of the existing accommodation ends the analysis." Noll v. Int'l Bus. Machs. Corp., 787 F.3d 89, 94 (2d Cir. 2015) (citation omitted).

One should note that the procedural posture here is at the summary judgment stage, where discovery has been obtained and all reasonable inferences of fact are drawn in favor of the non-moving party, here the Plaintiff Kelly. Still, the Court finds that "The accommodations offered by Starwood — not assigning Kelly to double shifts and affording her opportunities to avoid working overnight shifts — are plainly reasonable. Kelly identifies no essential functions nor any benefits or privileges of employment from which she is excluded. Although Starwood's accommodations result in Kelly's ineligibility for overtime, Kelly has conceded that given her condition, she would not take overtime even if offered." In addition the requirements of the job, that being overnights shifts, the Court must look at what is reasonable - what is a reasonable accommodation - and, alternatively, what is not going to pass muster.

Here, under the circumstances, the Court grants the Defendant-Employer's motion for summary judgment. In so finding, the Court states that by allowing Kelly to "satisfy the essential requisites of a job" and "to enjoy the right or rights" associated with the position, Kelly's employer was granting her a reasonable accommodation. N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 8-107(15)(a).

The case is Kelly v. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.


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