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Were Jennifer Esposito's rights under the Americans With Disabilities Act violated?

Just about everyone in Los Angeles knows that TV shows are infamous for their grueling production schedules. Not as many people, unfortunately, realize that under the Americans With Disabilities Act, employers must make "reasonable accommodations" for workers who are disabled or sick. As you can imagine, that is a very valuable employee right.

The reason we are mentioning those things in conjunction with one another is that actress Jennifer Esposito was recently placed on leave from CBS' police drama "Blue Bloods" because she requested a reduced work schedule so she could recuperate from complications due to celiac disease. That's a move that may have violated the ADA.

In a recent interview, Esposito said CBS refused to accommodate her request to have her schedule reduced to two or three days. She said she tried to keep pace, but collapsed twice on set one day. After that, Esposito was placed on leave and a rotation of guest actresses was lined up to fill her character's spot. Esposito called CBS' actions here "ugliness."

Now, if CBS did not make any effort to accommodate Esposito, then it might have violated the ADA. There are plenty of options between Esposito working a full schedule and placing her on leave; if CBS had reasons for rejecting those, its decision might be legitimate, but if it does not, Esposito could have a claim.

CBS has not commented extensively on Esposito's allegations, however, so we are not sure what the thought process here was.

Source: TV Guide, "Blue Bloods' Jennifer Esposito Opens Up About 'Ugliness' With CBS Over Suspension," Kate Stanhope, Nov. 18, 2012

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