Ask the ExpertWhen an employee seeks an accommodation yet refuses reasonable options…
Shani Giroux asked 5 months ago

We have offered an employee a number of accommodation options.  She can only work days due to childcare requirements,  She is a Registered Practical Nurse and insists on working Days as an RPN.  The issue is that there are no vacant Day lines in the RPN classification and those working Days are all senior to her.  She believes she is entitled to bump a senior employee out of their line as it is an “accommodation”.  We have offered her a vacant full-time PSW line that is days and meets her childcare requirements.  She would receive $5.00 less per hour but she would be home with her children in the evening.  She is refusing that as well.  We also offered her the flexibility to leave 1 hour early from her evening shift to pick up her kids in daycare as she secured an evening childcare spot but is stating she can’t afford it.   How far do we have to go with this. She is refusing reasonable accommodation options.  

1 Answers
Glenn Demby Staff answered 5 months ago

I can’t counel you or make a determination on your particular case without knowing all of the facts. However, what I can tell you is the general rule is that accommodations must be reasonable and not impose undue hardship. It’s well established that an accommodation that would require firing or demoting an existing employee crosses the line and constitutes undue hardship. It’s also well established that employees don’t get to pick which accommodations they want and that as long as the offered accommodations are reasonable, rejecting them ends your duty to accommodate. This is particularly true in the context of scheduling changes for working parents. I suggest you search the HRI site for this, since we’ve written on it extensively. Bottom Line: Based just on your description, it sounds like the employee is being unreasonable. But you need to talk to counsel before deciding to cut ties with her.