SW Legal studies in Business

Employer Has Duty to Discuss Reasonable Accommodation for Disabled Employee

Connecticut high court held that an employer who dismissed a disabled employee without discussing reasonable accommodation, to determine if the employee could perform his job with accommodation, violated the law against disability discrimination.

Topic Employment Discrimination
Key Words

Disability; Reasonable Accommodation

C A S E   S U M M A R Y

Curry began work as a driver for Goodman, Inc., a distributor of wines and liquors in 1986. The job required lifting cases of liquor weighing up to 70 pounds. In 1998, Curry injured his back when lifting a case. He had two surgeries and returned to work in 2000, but was restricted as to how much he could lift and was to avoid prolonged periods of sitting or standing. Because of the injury, Goodman agreed that Curry could work in a warehouse job helping to fill cartons with bottles of liquor. Several months later, Curry and a supervisor got into a dispute related to his ability to perform certain physical actions. They told different versions of what happened. Soon after, Goodman told Curry and his physician that unless Curry would stand for a ten hour shift and lift 45 pound cases repeatedly, he would lose his job. The physician said that was not possible. Curry was fired. His attorney asked Goodman for reasonable accommodation, but there was no reply. Curry sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act. The district court held for Goodman. Curry appealed.


Reversed and remanded. Curry was disabled, so Goodman had an obligation to provide reasonable accommodation. Once Curry was assigned to the warehouse job, given his disability the employer was required to engage in discussions with him to discuss accommodations. Reasonable accommodation is a part of an employee’s prima facie case that focuses on an employee’s particular disability and the job requirements. The employer would have to show that making an accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer. Goodman failed to discuss reasonable accommodation. It will be determined at trial if Curry could perform essential functions of the job with reasonable accommodation.

Citation Curry v. Allan S. Goodman, Inc., ---A.2d--- (2008 WL 926559, Sup. Ct., Conn., 2008)

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