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10th Circuit Finds Transferring Disabled Employee to Different Geographic Location is Reasonable Accommodation

The Enochs Law Firm provides an interesting article
regarding a recent 10th Circuit finding that an employee can be
transferred to a different location for better medical care, and that this
transfer is a reasonable accommodation under the Rehabilitation Act. In the
case, Clarice Sanchez, a longtime employee of the U.S. Forest Service, suffered
irreversible brain damage after falling at work, an injury that caused her to
lose her left hand field of vision. She requested a hardship transfer to a
location where she could receive better medical treatment. The Forest Service
initially denied her request, but the 10th Circuit disagreed and
ruled in favor of Sanchez.

Sanchez was still able to perform the functions of her job, but had
difficulty reading due to loss of vision. However, she claimed that after her
disability she suffered from harassment at work. As such, she requested a
transfer to Albuquerque. The 10th Circuit found that Sanchez was
disabled under the definition in the Rehabilitation Act, and then went on to
state its new holding that transfer accommodations are available for disabled employees
even when they are able to perform the essential functions of their jobs, a
change from prior case law where not being
able to perform essential job functions was a requirement under the
Rehabilitation Act.

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