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  • Carole M. Bosch

New Case! Disability of Family Member & Reasonable Accommodation

You may be entitled to reasonable accommodations to care for a disabled family member: Castro-Ramirez v. Dependable Highway Express

In April this year, the California Court of Appeal decided that an employer has a duty to provide reasonable accommodations for employees caring for disabled family members.

When Dependable Highway Express (DHE) hired Luis Castro-Ramirez as a truck driver in 2010, Mr. Ramirez told his supervisor that he had a disabled son who required daily dialysis that only, he, among his family members, was trained to administer. Mr. Ramirez requested schedule accommodations and, for several years, his supervisor scheduled Mr. Ramirez so he could be home to tend to his son in the evening.

In 2013, DHE promoted Mr. Ramirez’s supervisor and assigned a new supervisor to Mr. Ramirez’s crew. The new supervisor changed Mr. Ramirez’ work schedule. Mr. Ramirez complained, but the new supervisor continued to assign Mr. Ramirez to late shifts that did not allow him to be home to care for his son.

On April 23, 2013, Mr. Ramirez received a late assignment. He asked for a different route or to take the day off so he could be home to administer his son’s dialysis. After consulting with a manager, the new supervisor terminated Mr. Ramirez.

Mr. Ramirez filed an appeal after the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of DHE. The Court of Appeal found that an employer may be liable under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) for failing to accommodate an employee's request to modify his work schedule to care for a disabled family member.

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