No Longer in the Dark: Ninth Circuit Sheds Light on Employers' Duty to Accommodate

October 2006
Employment Law Notes
The ADA imposes a continuing duty upon employers to reasonably accommodate employees for ADA-recognized disabilities, which may leave employers wondering: For how long does this continuing duty extend? In addressing this question in Dark v. Curry County, 451 F.3d 1078 (2006), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals highlights and expands upon the “continuing” duty to accommodate, suggesting that only a jury can say when the duty has been met. The Dark opinion also holds that misconduct resulting from an employee’s disability is likely to be considered a part of that disability under the ADA. As a result, the Dark opinion serves as a reminder that employers must act cautiously and consistently when disciplining disabled employees.