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'Unfit to sit' may get ADA protection

An employee's inability to sit now constitutes a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to a recent decision by the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals, reversing a lower court ruling.

The employee in this case had sustained a spinal injury from a fall and was unable to sit for prolonged periods. Following a dispute with her employer over her requests for workplace accommodations such as a special chair, the employee was terminated.

The Court in its decision noted that the determination of whether an impairment "substantially limits a major life activity [under the ADA] involves several factors" and wrote that the "inability to sit for even a prolonged period of time may be a disability depending on the totality of circumstances."