If a worker has a 10 lb limit on lifting,must I accomdate that work restriction?

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If a worker has a 10 lb limit on lifting,must I accomdate that work restriction?

I have a worker in my carryout that has a 10 lb weight limit but some of the 18 packs packs of beer and soda weigh over that. Do I have to accomodate because a 12 pack of beer weighs 14 lbs or can I tell her when she is able to come back to work? If I don’t accomodate, will I open for a lawsuit or an unemployment claim?

Asked on June 8, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your obligation is to provide "reasonable accomodations." A reasonable accomodation is a change in how a job is done, or the provision of some assistive device, that lets the employer do her job, which accomodation is not too expensive or disruptive to the employer. So if there is a way she can her job with this restriction, you probably need to let her do that. For example--and these are just by way of example: I don't know exactly what her job entails or how your run your business--say that:

1) There are always two or more people on duty at the same time--could she ring up the purchase or pack light items while her partner packs the heavy ones?

2) If giving her a cart to move the cases would let her do her job, you might have to let have the cart.

In those cases, there appears to be a reasonable accomodation; if so, you would need to make it.

On the other hand, if there simply is no way for her to do her job with that restriction, then you may terminate her if you choose; the law does not make you employ or pay someown who simply cannot do her job.


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