Dispute over firing

March 20, 2019

He said chronic migraines and request for workplace  accommodations got him fired. They said it was poor performance that cost him his position. 


Former UT employee James Krull was fired in Feb. 2018 from his position in the Registrar’s Office, which he’d been at since 2016, as first reported by the Toledo Blade. 


The termination came after a prolonged struggle for Krull, who suffered from migraines and the refusal of the university to provide him with sufficient accommodations to continue his work, he alleged.


UT denied the charge and said Krull’s accomodations were met and he was instead fired because of his job performance. 


After being employed with the university for a year, Krull began experiencing migraines in 2017 and, under the Family and Medical Leave Act, took a temporary medical leave of absence. 


Upon returning to work in early 2018, Krull requested the university provide him with certain accommodations including keeping his computer brightness lowered and keeping his office door closed while at work.


The university fired him shortly after meeting with the university ADA coordinator regarding the requests for accommodations, as reported by the Toledo Blade.


Enacted in 1990, the purpose of Americans with Disabilities Act is to protect the rights and opportunities of all people with disabilities.


As stated on its website, adata.org, the act “guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services and telecommunications.”


Regarding universities in general, not Krull’s case specifically, Jim Ferris, Ability Center endowed chair in Disability Studies, said, “Too often I suspect that accommodations just look like a little too much work to get it right, which I suspect is part of why people with disabilities make up more than 18 percent of the U.S. population, but makeup nowhere near that percentage of the workforce on campuses or the wider world.”


“Many people with disabilities have found education to be a good field to work in, but universities have not entirely figured out how to facilitate the success of people with disabilities and members of other underprivileged minority groups while upholding ‘excellence,’ which is so often defined in terms that advantage those in the dominant groups,” Ferris also added.


After his termination, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission determined it was probable that reasonable accommodations were not provided to Krull, ruling against UT.


The Commission was established by the state of Ohio in 1959 to enforce state laws protecting against discrimination. 


“The University of Toledo has requested reconsideration of the determination in accordance with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission procedures and is awaiting a response,” Director of University Communications, Meghan Cunningham, said. 


“As this process is ongoing, we have no further comment.”


According to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, “reconsideration is the Commission’s internal appeal process, available to any party involved in a case that disagrees with the determinization of the Commission.” 


If any compelling evidence is found on the university’s behalf, the commission’s initial ruling could be overturned. 


Or, the original findings by the commission could be upheld and the university could be at fault. 


Krull’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.

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