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Wal-Mart's Genuine Effort to Accommodate Upheld

Bobby Moore worked for Wal-Mart as a parts clerk. Following a stroke that impacted his left side, Mr. Moore was able to return to work while he continued to undergo physical and occupational therapy. Although he could not perform all of his job duties, his supervisors chose not to reprimand him. They believed he would continue to improve and assumed he would take on the rest of his duties as that happened. Unfortunately, Mr. Moore fell at work. After that fall, he requested accommodation. Wal-Mart denied his request because with or without accommodation, he would not be able to perform the essential functions of his position.

Mr. Moore was offered a transfer to another position where he would be able to perform the job’s requirements. In Mr. Moore’s new position, he had performance issues and Wal-Mart fired him. Mr. Moore filed a lawsuit alleging discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, claiming that he was denied accommodation and fired for his disability. 

It was undisputed that Mr. Moore met the criteria for being disabled. The essential question for the federal district court was whether Mr. Moore was denied reasonable accommodation. Wal-Mart had overlooked Mr. Moore’s problems on the job for 15 months after his stroke. This fact, Mr. Moore argued, showed that Wal-Mart had previously accommodated him and there was no reason for the company not to continue. The court disagreed. Mr. Moore lacked any evidence to show that he could have performed the essential functions of his clerk position with any reasonable accommodation. Wal-Mart had allowed him to slide by because it anticipated he would ultimately be able to return to full duty. The company was not required to permit that situation indefinitely. In conclusion, the court expressed sympathy for Mr. Moore’s plight given his clear desire to work but stated that Wal-Mart could not be punished for bending over backward to accommodate him. Mr. Moore’s performance issues justified his ultimate termination.