Nevada Worker Gets $150,000 Settlement for Cubicle Claustrophobia

Sometimes, you come across a workplace story that is so mind boggling that you have to read it twice just to make sure that it wasn’t something you were dreaming.

This is one of those stories.

It comes from the Las Vegas Review-Journal (with an earlier story in the Las Vegas Sun) and is titled Cubicle case may spur more lawsuits. It shows just how difficult it is for businesses and their HR professionals to get a handle on the new and varied permutations on the Americans With Disabilities Act that keep coming out of the courts. How would you handle this case if it came from one of your employees?

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Clark County’s $150,000 settlement with a claustrophobic woman who said working in a cubicle caused her severe anxiety could signal a growing tide of similar lawsuits involving psychological ailments, according to an attorney who specializes in employment law.

County commissioners agreed to settle with Jayne Feshold, a former data technician at University Medical Center, two weeks ago after the county’s attorney hinted that they might lose worse in court.”

Claustrophobia is among the anxiety disorders covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a 21-year-old law to help the disabled have normal lives by reducing impediments at public venues and in the workplace.

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John Hollon is managing editor of Fuel50, an AI Opportunity Marketplace solution that delivers internal talent mobility and workforce reskilling. He's also the former founding editor of TLNT and a frequent contributor to ERE and the Fistful of Talent blog.