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One Year Was Not a Reasonable Accommodation

For Taymari Delgado, over a year of leave was not a reasonable accommodation. She worked for AstraZeneca Pharmaceutical as a hospital specialist. In 2011, she learned that she had a small brain tumor and required five months of leave to get treatment. Her employer granted the leave. In order for her to extend that leave, AstraZeneca asked for more documentation. She did not respond. When the company gave her a return date, Ms. Delgado still did not respond. HR called her to discuss that she might have to resign. Ms. Delgado thereafter submitted a doctor’s note that stated she was “severely ill” and would need “more than a year” to recover. AstraZeneca did not see this documentation as sufficient to justify another year of leave. She was fired.

Ms. Delgado sued, alleging that the company did not provide her with a reasonable accommodation of her disability and failed to engage in the interactive process required.

The First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Ms. Delgado’s request for a year more of leave was not a reasonable accommodation. The additional year coupled with the five months of leave already taken was an obvious burden to the employer. The court noted that it was Ms. Delgado’s burden to show that her request was reasonable and AstraZeneca did not have to show the hardship that it would face. The circuit court also dismissed her failure to engage in the interactive process claim because Ms. Delgado could not show that a reasonable accommodation existed for her circumstances. This court noted that this holding was limited to the facts of the case before it.