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Media Alerts - Solomon v. Vilsack - D.C. Circuit
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August 15, 2014
  Solomon v. Vilsack - D.C. Circuit
Headline: Flexible work schedule may be a reasonable accommodation under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Area of Law: Rehabilitation Act; Employment Law

Issue Presented: Whether the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 permits a "maxiflex" schedule as an accommodation for an employee's disability.

Brief Summary: Appellant Linda Solomon, a Department of Agriculture employee, sought substantial flexibility in her working hours, a so-called "maxiflex" schedule, to accommodate her disability under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. ยงยง 701 et seq. The Rehabilitation Act requires employers to make "reasonable accommodations to the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability." When her employer denied the requested maxiflex schedule, and after exhausting administrative remedies, Solomon filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia alleging that the Secretary's refusal to permit the maxiflex schedule violated the Rehabilitation Act. The district court granted the Secretary's motion for summary judgment on the ground that the flexible work schedule Solomon requested was unreasonable as a matter of law.

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed in part. The court rejected the Secretary's argument that "the ability to work a regular and predictable schedule" is, "as a matter of law, an essential element of any job," finding nothing in the Rehabilitation Act that takes such an accommodation off the table. Quite the contrary, the court found that the Act's incorporation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and its regulations signified an endorsement of modified work schedules. The court distinguished Carr v. Reno, 23 F.3d 525 (D.C. Cir. 1994), as a case in which the employment at issue involved "tight 4:00 p.m. deadlines." Carr, an admittedly "unusual" case, did not purport to set forth a categorical legal rule that a regular and predictable schedule was an essential function of all jobs. Because Solomon had submitted sufficient evidence on all four elements of her accommodation claim, the D.C. Circuit reversed the district court's entry of summary judgment.

For the full text of the opinion, please visit:

Panel: Henderson, Millett, and Ginsburg

Argument Date: March 17, 2014

Date of Issued Opinion: August 15, 2014

Docket Number: 12-5123

Decided: Reversed in part

Case Alert Author: Albertine Guez

Counsel: John F. Karl Jr. for appellant. Brian P. Hudak, Ronald C. Machen Jr., and R. Craig Lawrence for appellee.

Author of Opinion: Millett

Case Alert Circuit Supervisors: Elizabeth Earle Beske, Ripple Weistling

    Posted By: Ripple Weistling @ 08/15/2014 03:36 PM     DC Circuit  

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