In Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc. (September 2017), the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that employees are not entitled to extensive or open-ended periods of medical leave as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.In Severson, the plaintiff took a full 12 weeks of FMLA leave for chronic back pain, underwent back surgery on the last day of his FMLA leave, and then requested several additional months of leave to recover from the surgery. The employer denied the request and terminated the employee, but offered to rehire him after he recovered from surgery. The employee then sued the employer for failure to provide reasonable accommodations (i.e., extended leave) under the ADA.
- Is the ADA leave for an indefinite length of time (no end date)?
- Has the ADA leave been extended multiple times?
- Has the employee exhausted all PTO, FMLA, and state-specific leave entitlements?
- Has the treating medical provider or employee indicated the employee has a permanent disability that will prevent the employee from working?
- Has the employee informed you that he or she has applied for total disability?
- Has the employee ignored your attempts to contact him or her?