Featured Case: Reassignment Accommodation

Tasha Patterson@Work


Reassignment Is a Reasonable Accommodation

By Gail I. Cohen, Esq.

Assistant General Counsel, Employment & Litigation
Matrix Absence Management

In Thompson v. Microsoft Corp.,1 the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s award of summary judgment for Microsoft in a lawsuit brought by its employee, John Thompson.

Thompson had autism spectrum disorder (ASD). He expressed interest in and was given the opportunity to advance to a role as an enterprise architect (EA), for which he relocated to Austin, Texas. He asked that Microsoft human resources not tell his manager about his ASD diagnosis and did not initially seek any accommodations. After a client to which he was assigned complained about his performance and asked that he be removed from their account, Thompson formally requested a wide array of accommodations, many of which were granted by Microsoft, including providing him with a specialized job coach and training his managers on managing employees with ASD.

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