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Total Articles: 10

“Need To Know Basis” – A Good Rule Of Thumb Under The ADA

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), employers have certain obligations regarding the non-disclosure of employee medical information and disabilities. For instance, under the ADA, information an employer obtains regarding an employee’s medical condition must be collected on separate forms, kept in medical files, and treated as a confidential medical record. In fact, it should be kept entirely separate from the rest of the personnel file.

Plaintiff Lacks Standing to Claim Website Violates ADA Where It Does Not Impede Ability to Access Physical Location of the Business

With the rise in lawsuits under Title III of the ADA regarding accessibility of websites, Courts have been framing how such claims fit into the law’s requirements for accessibility at places of public accommodation. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida recently provided additional clarification in Gomez v. Knife Management, LLC (S.D. Fla. Sep. 14, 2018).

Court Finds Standing Requirement for ADA Title III Claim Requires Plaintiff To Have “Concrete and Realistic” Plan to Return to the Hotel

A recent Middle District of Florida decision granted the Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s claims for relief under Title III of the ADA based on Plaintiff’s lack of standing to bring such claims. In Kennedy v. Cape Siesta Motel (MD FL Oct 4, 2018) the Plaintiff claims she encountered architectural barriers upon her visit to a motel in Brevard County, Florida. The Plaintiff lives about 175 miles from the motel but has a second home about 79 miles from the motel which she visits two to three times a month.

KFC Franchisee Pays $30,000 For Disability Discrimination Claim But It Could Have Been Worse!

A KFC Franchisee in Dublin, Georgia recently settled a disability discrimination case with a former manager who had bipolar disorder for $30,000. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), the federal watch dog for anti-discrimination employment laws, the owner/operator found out the store manager was taking prescription medicine for her bipolar disorder. He then made her flush her medicine down the restaurant toilet. The store manager later told the owner she was going to continue taking the medication per her doctor’s orders, and the owner fired her. The store manager asserted a disability discrimination claim and the franchisee settled for $30,000.

Another Court Decides That Extended Leave is Not a Reasonable Accommodation

As employers struggle with managing how much, if any, leave is required as an accommodation under the ADA, we are beginning to get more direction from the Courts to guide those decisions. In Easter v. Arkansas Children’s Hospital (E.D. Ark. Oct. 3, 2018) an employee was unable to work after exhausting her FMLA leave but she had an appointment to be evaluated by a specialist less than a month later. The employer denied the additional leave and terminated her employment. The Court held there was no violation of the ADA.

Dear Littler: Do We Have to Accommodate A Religious Objection to the Flu Shot?

Dear Littler: I work in a health care setting in New Jersey. As flu season is approaching, we emailed all of our patient care employees (nurses, physical therapists, intake staff, etc.) to remind them that an immunization is required by our employer. The deadline is looming, but we have a nurse that is refusing to get the vaccine based on her supposed religious beliefs. We have exempted her for that reason in prior years—but the flu outbreak was so terrible last year, our employer does not want to allow religious exemptions. Do we need to accommodate her?

Service Animals and the ADA - Part IV

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requires covered entities to make "reasonable modifications" in their policies, practices, or procedures when necessary to accommodate people with disabilities. Many individuals with disabilities use a service animal to conduct their daily life activities. Thus, businesses that have a "no pets" policy generally must modify the policy to allow “service animals” into their facilities.

Website Accessibility and Americans with Disabilities Act

An issue frequently raised in “drive-by” Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuits is the claim that a company’s website is not accessible to users with disabilities. Some websites can pose significant barriers for people with disabilities including those who (a) are blind or have low vision, (b) are deaf or hard of hearing, (c) have mobility-related disabilities, (d) have some type of learning or cognitive disabilities. In addition to having physically accessible facilities, the ADA requires businesses to have compliant websites, although the ADA and the case law interpreting it are unclear regarding what standards must be met for compliance.

Employers Must Have Duties Based Reasons to Support the Assertion that Full-Time Attendance Is an Essential Job Function

Teenagers are not the only ones dissatisfied when their pleas of “why” are met with a “because I said so.” It turns out that courts of appeal do not care for it either.

IRS Finalizes Regulations Allowing Plan Forfeitures to Fund QNECS and QMACS

The IRS recently finalized regulations that allow 401(k) plans to use forfeiture money to fund qualified non-elective contributions (“QNECs”) and qualified matching contributions (“QMACs”). These regulations finalize proposed regulations issued last year (you can read our prior coverage of the proposed regulations here).