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20 Feb

Telecom Giant in Trouble after Row with Employee

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One of the fastest internet provider in the country, Comcast® did not fail to yield to the requirements of an employee by declining to reassign her, according to a federal district court judge. The former employee had alleged that Comcast® failed to obey the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The employee, Brenda Turcotte, had her position automated and she was transferred to another dispatch work. However, her job was not easy because of the increasing work volumes, and the number of inbound calls affected her peace of mind. As a result, she took leave and made a request to the firm regarding the reassignment of dispatch job. According to the court though, she demanded jobs that were highly similar to the dispatch job. Besides, she failed to produce medical evidence to support her request and was unsuccessful in applying for jobs internally. Finally, she became an intern at another firm, ending her commitment with Comcast®.

The judge favored the cheap internet provider Comcast® in this case because it found out that Turcotte would have ended up doing the same job as she was presently doing, even if the transfer request was accepted. The ruling remarked, “It defies logic to argue that those jobs would have been a reasonable accommodation. If she could perform this function, Comcast® would have no obligation to accommodate her at all.”

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Turcotte highlighted the importance that the court gives to the ADA’s interactive process. “Managers need to be trained to dedicate extra time and effort to employees with disabilities when determining accommodations,” David K. Fram, the director of ADA and Equal Employment Opportunity services for the National Employment Law Institute commented in an interview. According to the court, Comcast® made a reasonable effort to cope with the request and make a resolution that would satisfy both parties. It said that the HR representatives and managers dedicated time to counsel, train, retrain, and organize internal job quests alongside Turcotte.

Furthermore, there were also faults on the employee’s side, which led to the verdict. Turcotte did not respond to the company’s requests for more information. She also did not reveal her true intentions to the company. Although ADA does not say that the interactive process is mandatory, it certainly favors employers who communicate well with their employees. If the employer causes the breakdown of the process, then they would be adjudged guilty of trying to take advantage of the disability. Similarly, if there were evidence that the employee caused the breakdown, then the employer would be at an advantage.

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