“Getting to Work” with Reasonable Accommodation Jeanette Colwell was hired as a part-time retail clerk at a Rite Aid store in Old Forge, Pennsylvania. She worked various shifts, including 5 pm to 9 pm, and she earned supervisors’ recognition for good performance. A few months after being hired, Colwell was diagnosed with “retinal vein occlusion and glaucoma in her left eye,” and eventually she became blind in that eye. Colwell informed her supervisor, Susan Chapman, that her partial blindness made it dangerous and difficult for her to drive to work at night. She asked to be assigned to day shifts only so that she would be able to get to work. (Bus service stopped at 6 pm, and there were no taxis serving the area where the store was located.) Chapman refused the request because it “wouldn’t be fair” to other workers, and she continued to schedule Colwell for a mix of day and evening shifts. Colwell later sent Chapman a doctor’s note recommending that Colwell not drive at night, but Chapman was still unwilling to assign Colwell to day shifts only. Colwell resigned and brought an ADA claim against Rite Aid. The federal trial court ruled that Rite Aid had no duty to accommodate Colwell because she was able to perform all her work duties at the store; Colwell appealed. Questions 1. Is Colwell an “individual with a disability” under the ADA? Explain. 2. How should Chapman have responded to Colwell’s request? Explain. 3. A part-time retail clerk who is unable to drive because he is “legally blind” requests a late arrival to his shift due to a long bus commute. The store manager refuses his request, and subsequently terminates him for being late to work on a number of occasions. The clerk brings an ADA claim against his former employer. Decide. Explain.
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