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Connecticut high court finds "implicit" employer duty to accommodate disabled



Daniel Schwartz on a decision this month called Curry v. Goodman: "the Connecticut Supreme Court today held, in an issue of first impression, that employers have a duty to provide a reasonable accommodation to disabled workers under state law, even though the law does not explicitly say so." A noteworthy aspect of the ruling is that the Connecticut legislature had "ignored various bills that have been proposed over the years ... to add reasonable accommodation language to the statute" -- which now doesn't seem to matter, since the court is willing to declare victory for the disabled-rights enforcers without that little formality. The practical significance goes beyond simply providing duplicative coverage on matters already reached by the federal ADA; Connecticut's conjured-up duty to accommodate reaches smaller employers (3-14 employees), unlike its federal counterpart. Beyond that, Schwartz notes, the Court in Hartford found "that state law imposes a duty on employers to engage in an 'interactive process' [when accommodation is requested] -- a term of art found in the Americans with Disabilities Act regulations."

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy
rmangual@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.