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The Louisiana Department of Justice may have violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by refusing to accommodate a former assistant attorney general suffering from osteoarthritis who was denied a free on-site parking space, says an appellate court, in partially overturning a lower court ruling.
Pauline G. Feist, a former assistant attorney general for the Louisiana Department of Justice, filed suit against the department, charging it had discriminated against her in violation of the ADA by refusing to provide her with the parking space, according to Monday’s ruling in Pauline G. Feist v. State of Louisiana, Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
The U.S. District Court in New Orleans had dismissed Ms. Feist’s ADA claim, holding she had failed to explain how the denial of the parking spot limited her ability to perform her job’s essential functions, said a unanimous three-judge panel.
However, the ADA’s text “gives no indication that an accommodation must facilitate the essential function of one’s position,” said the ruling. “Moreover, the requested reserved on-site parking would presumably have made her workplace ‘readily accessible to and usable’ by her,” said the court, in quoting the ADA, “and therefore might have been potentially reasonable accommodation” under the ADA, said the ruling.
“The ADA’s implementing regulations also indicate that reasonable accommodation need not relate to the performance of essential job functions,” the ruling adds.
In remanding the case, however, the appellate court said, “We express no opinion as to whether the proposed accommodation was reasonable.”
The appellate court also upheld the lower court’s dismissal of her retaliation charge.
People with severe allergies and epilepsy are protected from discrimination by the Americans with Disabilities Act, an Iowa appellate court ruled Wednesday, reversing a lower court's ruling.