Tenth Circuit holds no adverse employment action is required in a failure-to-accommodate case
The Americans with Disabilities Act recognizes several types of claims that a disabled worker might file against their employer. Typically statutory employment claims include a requirement that the plaintiff prove an adverse employment action, meaning that they suffered harm to their employment, such as being discharged, promoted or other material impact on the significant terms and conditions of employment. The adverse employment action element poses a threshold against de minimis claims.
The Tenth Circuit held that a disabled plaintiff who asserts their employer failed to provide a reasonable accommodation need not prove an adverse employment action. In the case before it, the jury found that, even if the employer may have failed to reasonably accommodate the plaintiff’s disability, it did not result in her discharge, demotion or other harm to the terms and conditions of her employment. Initially a panel of the Tenth Circuit affirmed, but, re-hearing the case en banc, the Tenth Circuit held, over a strong and sizable dissent, that no adverse employment action need be proven because a failure-to-accommodate is itself actionable.
Source: Exby-Stolley v. Weld County, No. 16-1412, — P.3d —, 2020 BL 417137 (10th Cir. 10/28/20)