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Keith v. County of Oakland, (6th Cir. Jan. 10, 2013)

Articles Discussing Case:

Employer's reliance on third party assessment to determine reasonable accommodation may lead to ADA liability.

Ogletree Deakins • January 21, 2013
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently addressed an issue of first impression, finding that the ability to hear is not necessarily an “essential function” of the job of lifeguard. Keith v. County of Oakland, 6th Cir., No. 11-2276, January 10, 2013. In addition, however, the Court made a number of other, more generally applicable observations. The most noteworthy is a statement that seems to create an obligation on the part of an employer to fully understand the background and experience of any expert who is relied upon to assist in determining whether a disabled individual can be accommodated in a particular position.

Legal Alert: Deaf Lifeguard's Disability Claims Against Oakland County Go to Jury

FordHarrison LLP • January 18, 2013
Executive Summary: The Sixth Circuit has reversed the decision of a lower court and held that a deaf individual should be permitted to proceed to trial on his claim that a prospective employer discriminated against him on the basis of disability by failing to hire him as a lifeguard. Keith v. County of Oakland, (6th Cir. Jan. 10, 2013). In reviving the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claim, the Court found that a jury should be permitted to determine whether the individual was otherwise qualified to be a lifeguard, with or without accommodation, that is, whether hearing is an essential function of the job and, if so, whether reasonable accommodations could have been made.