On July 24, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment on a claim alleging failure to accommodate under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended. Swanson v. Village of Flossmoor, No. 14-3309 (7th Cir. July 24, 2015). The plaintiff in this case was a police detective who suffered two strokes. After the first, he requested a reasonable accommodation under the ADA–that he be allowed to work at a desk job. The employer satisfied its obligation to provide him with a reasonable accommodation for his disability by allowing him to use his paid time off to work part-time, in accordance with his physician’s instructions. After his second stroke, unable to perform the essential functions of his job, he resigned. The 7th Circuit held that his failure to accommodate claim was without merit. The employer reasonably accommodated the employee after his first stroke by permitting him to use paid leave to work part-time. Since he was unable to perform his essential job functions after his second stroke, the employer was no longer required to accommodate him.
The plaintiff had also filed race and national origin discrimination claims against the employer under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. He alleged that derogatory comments about his national origin (Puerto Rican) and race were made to him at work; and that he was excluded from certain investigations because of his race and national origin. However, his employment discrimination claims were time-barred because his Charge of Discrimination had not been filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within the 300-day time-limitation. There are very short and strict time-limitations within which to file employment discrimination claims under federal law as well as Illinois law. The time-limitation to file a Charge of Discrimination or Sexual Harassment with the Illinois Department of Human Rights under the Illinois Human Rights Act is even shorter–180 days.