The first case involves Joe Stromboli. Joe is a delivery driver for Weyland, and after an accident, Joe became 100% deaf in both ears. The doctors were unable to restore any of Joe’s hearing. Joe’s manager, Stephanie, believes that communication with employees and the recipients of the deliveries is an essential function of the job. Additionally, Joe needs to be able to participate in the team meetings. Joe’s manager was unsure whether to proceed, so she referred the case to the Weyland-Wutani medical staff. The medical employee took one look at Joe and said no accommodation is possible. When asked why, the doctor said “Joe’s deaf.” Joe was terminated, and he has now filed a suit for failure to reasonably accommodate.
The job description for a Weyland-Yutani delivery driver states that the employee must be able to maintain a Commercial driver’s license. Additionally, delivery drivers are expected to take orders from various employees. This is ordinarily done via hand radio. However, Joe has a cell phone capable of receiving text messages and emails that could allow him to take orders. Furthermore, Joe has offered to carry a pen and paper around so that communication could also be done this way. Joe’s deafness had no effect on maintaining his CDL, and the firm expects it would make these accommodations fairly cheaply.
- Can Joe establish a claim for failure to reasonably accommodate disability? Be sure to list the elements of the claim and to show how you reached your conclusion.
- What mistakes—if any—were made? How can these be corrected in the future?