Carmen Parada worked for Banco Industrial de Venezuela in New York as a credit analyst, a largely sedentary job that involved organizing credit letter applications, ensuring that certain documents complied with various standards, and issuing credit letters. In 2007, she fell on the sidewalk and suffered a spinal injury in her lower back. As a result, the employee was directed by her doctor to avoid “prolonged sitting” and to stand after 10 or 15 minutes of sitting. She borrowed a colleague’s ergonomic office chair temporarily, and was able to sit using that chair without the need for standing breaks. The employee asked her employer (a bank) multiple times for a permanent ergonomic chair as a “reasonable accommodation” under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). However, she never received the chair and was ultimately terminated.
Which of the following statements is correct?
A. The bank may deny the employee’s request for the ergonomic chair as a reasonable accommodation under ADA, since she is not precluded from sitting at all times.
B. The bank must grant the employee’s request for breaks to allow her to stand after 10-15 minutes of sitting as a reasonable accommodation under ADA but is not required to provide the chair at the employer’s expense.
C. The bank must grant the employee’s request to either stand periodically or use an ergonomic chair, but not both, and the employee has to pay for her own chair.
D. The bank must grant the employee’s request and provide the chair at the employer’s expense, if the employee can show that she is a qualified individual with a disability and the chair will allow her to perform the essential functions of her job.