Child with disability and reduced work schedule

I have a 5 year old autistic child who does not speak, feed herself, dress herself, not toilet trained and displays destructive behavior. It is difficult for me to find someone to care for her while I am at work. I also have a 2 yr old and a 6 week old baby. I am currently on maternity leave, due to go back 9/1/2008. I currently work for a furniture store as a sales person. Normal schedules are 36-40 hours a week. I asked for a 30-32 hour schedule due to my daycare restrictions. I was told I could not be accommodated because it would not be fair to the other employees. However, there is a gentleman who works with me who is given a 30 hr/ 4day work week. I asked why he was accommodated and I was not. I was told he had worked there for 25 years and was over retirement age. Can they accommodate him based on age and not myself based on my limitations with a child that has a profound disability? Is there any ground I can stand on? I really need my job.

1 answer  |  asked Jul 25, 2008 11:00 AM [EST]  |  applies to Pennsylvania

Answers (1)

Christopher Ezold
Employers cannot play favorites in accomodating disabilities.

Before I respond to your inquiry, I must state that we have not spoken, I have not reviewed the relevant documents and facts, and I do not represent you. Therefore, my discussion below is not a legal opinion, but is informational only. Finally, my discussion applies only to issues to which Pennsylvania or Federal law apply, unless otherwise specified.

That being said, employers cannot play favorites in accommodating disabilities. The question here is whether you have a disability issue (your are caring for, or providing care for, disabled family members, not yourself), or whether this is an FMLA issue. The older employee, if being accommodated for his own disability, may not be a fair comparator to you, who is seeking accommodation to assist in the care of your children. However, if the accommodation being offered the older employee is for his care of his wife or third parties, you may have a discrimination issue based on gender.

Furthermore, you may have a claim under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for your needs in caring for family members.

If you would like to discuss this matter further, please feel free to contact me at the below address(es) or number.

/Christopher E. Ezold/
Nancy O'Mara Ezold, P.C.
One Belmont Avenue,
Suite 501
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
(610) 660-5585

posted by Christopher Ezold  |  Jul 25, 2008 11:25 AM [EST]

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