An elementary school teacher’s Fair Employment and Housing Act lawsuit for disability discrimination, and the California Court of Appeal‘s ruling in it, highlight just how far an employer must go before it can say it has met its obligations under FEHA. The appellate court reversed a summary judgment in favor of the employer, ruling that the employer presented no proof that the assignment it gave the employee was a reasonable accommodation.
The dispute, which pitted elementary school teacher Lauralyn Swanson against her employer, the Morongo Unified School District, started in the fall of 2008, when Swanson sought to return to school after missing most of the previous year due to breast cancer. The school district placed the teacher in a fifth-grade classroom. The teacher requested a second-grade assignment, having recently taught second grade before her illness and because she feared her health limitations would physically prevent her from performing the tasks involved in the fifth-grade assignment.