Employment – ADA, elected official, and accommodations: Kentucky Retirement Systems v. Martin (COA 5/22/2009)

Kentucky Retirement Systems v. Martin
2007-CA-002522 05/22/2009 2009 WL 1423991

Opinion by Judge Caperton; Judge Keller and Senior Judge Guidugli concurred in result only.

The Court affirmed an order of the circuit court, which reversed a decision by the Kentucky Retirement Systems denying benefits to a county clerk who as supervisor/employer granted to herself various accommodations to complete her term of office. The Court first held that clerk was not required to resign in order to prove her disability. While the accommodations might have been reasonable in the beginning their continuation could be unreasonable. The Court rejected the argument that accommodations given to an elected official acting as both employer and employee were automatically reasonable, as this would usurp the responsibility of the hearing officer mandated by KRS 61.600. The Court then concluded that the delegation, on a continuing basis, of the clerk’s supervisory duties, an essential function of her job, was unreasonable as a matter of law in light of KRS 61.600 and as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Court finally held that the circuit court correctly concluded that the record compelled a finding that the clerk was disabled and that the hearing officer erroneously found otherwise.

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