August 8, 2017
Authored by: Anthony George
On July 6, 2017, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit reiterated that physical attendance in the workplace is an essential function of most jobs and emphasized this is particularly true for temporary workers filling short-term vacancies.
In Punt v. Kelly Services, the plaintiff, Kristin Punt, was a temporary worker assigned to work for GE Controls Solutions (“GE”) as a receptionist. The essential functions of that job included being “physically present at the lobby/reception desk during business hours.” However, during her six weeks in the position, Ms. Punt was absent or tardy on multiple occasions, often due to medical appointments related to a recent diagnosis of breast cancer. GE terminated her assignment after she informed GE on a Monday morning that she planned to be absent the entire week and would need unspecified additional time off for “some appointments and tests” and “five