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Have you been transferred because of your disability?

Although you require a wheelchair, you were part of the customer service team until a management change occurred. The new manager moved you to a back office where you are to perform bookkeeping work, which is not your strong point. Were you transferred to a different department because of your disability?

Undue hardship explained

You have worked for a car dealership for the past three years. You have a good relationship with customers, many of whom you meet when they purchase an automobile and see again when they bring their vehicles in for maintenance. You were totally unprepared for the transfer to bookkeeping. By law, your employer should provide you with “reasonable accommodation” unless by doing so the company would be faced with unusual difficulties or expense, which is known as “undue hardship.”

About the ADA

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, an employer cannot treat an employee who is qualified for his or her job unfavorably because of a disability. When you were working in the customer service area, you sat in your wheelchair at a low desk. There were two chairs for customers on the other side. You prepared invoices, received and recorded payments, answered questions and helped solve problems. You were happy, did your job well and never dreamed you would be taken from that position and placed in one you know little about.

Making a complaint

You decided to go around your manager and speak to the owner of the dealership about your transfer. He acknowledged that it seemed unusual, but said the new manager came highly recommended and that he no doubt did what he thought best for the company. He is confident you can pick up the bookkeeping work quickly and promised to speak to the head bookkeeper on your behalf about any training you may need.

Missing the point

Evidently, the dealership owner, though well-meaning, is missing the point. You believe the new manager is biased against someone in a wheelchair working with the public; hence your removal to an office that is out of sight. Your work with the public did not cause "undue hardship." This could be a case of disability discrimination, and you may have a claim against the company.

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