Total Articles: 119
FordHarrison LLP • October 27, 2019
Executive Summary: On Tuesday, October 22, 2019, a Tennessee federal judge rejected a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in which it claimed a nursing home failed to accommodate an employee with anxiety. Finding that the EEOC failed to show the employee’s anxiety qualified as a disability, this decision offers hope to employers faced with requests for accommodation where the employee claims generalized anxiety.
FordHarrison LLP • September 06, 2019
Executive Summary: On August 30, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, covering New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, issued a precedential opinion in an important case interpreting the Americans With Disabilities Act’s (ADA) public accommodations provision and its interaction with persons who rely on psychiatric service animals. In summary, the court: (1) deepened a circuit split by joining the Tenth Circuit in holding that the ADA applies to plasma donor centers; and (2) held that the plasma donor center at issue violated the ADA by imposing a blanket ban on prospective plasma donors who use psychiatric service animals. See Matheis v. CSL Plasma, Inc., (3d Cir. Aug. 30, 2019).
Jackson Lewis P.C. • September 05, 2019
2019 has brought a flurry of new leave and accommodation laws. In fact, in the first 8 months of 2019, more than 20 new laws in this area have passed.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • July 31, 2019
While it’s true that acts of generosity sometimes backfire on those who offer them, the Court’s ruling in Higgins v. Union Pac. R.R. Co., No. 18-1902 (8th Cir. July 24, 2019) shows this is not always the case. In Higgins, the Eighth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for Union Pacific—holding that regular, reliable attendance was an essential function of Higgins’ position despite the fact that Union Pacific accommodated Higgins’ poor attendance for over a decade.
FordHarrison LLP • May 10, 2019
Executive Summary: Recent actions by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) emphasize employers’ obligations under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to accommodate workers’ religious objections to receiving a flu vaccination. For example, a Middle Tennessee hospital has agreed to pay $75,000 and perform other non-monetary actions to settle an EEOC lawsuit claiming it violated Title VII by failing to accommodate a worker’s sincerely held religious beliefs against receiving an annual flu vaccination.
Navigating employee disability issues and providing reasonable accommodations is often incredibly challenging for employers who must comply with the ADA, FMLA and various state and local laws.
Ogletree Deakins • April 11, 2019
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently reminded employers that, even under the more liberal standard for establishing a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), an employee who claims he or she cannot perform the major life activity of “working” has to do more than prove a substantial limitation in working in a single specific job. The employee must prove his or her impairment limits the ability to perform “a class of jobs or a broad range of jobs.”
Ogletree Deakins • February 18, 2019
Many employers and public accommodations are seeing an increase in requests for animals as an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In this episode, Jim Paul and David Raizman discuss the use of service animals in the workplace and in those businesses and organizations that are ADA “public accommodations,” including best practices for handling employee requests for service animals, which animals qualify as service animals, and special rules applicable to places of public accommodation.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • February 15, 2019
In 2019, we are poised to learn where the Fourth Circuit stands on reassignment as an accommodation—an issue that has split the Circuits.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • November 19, 2018
The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) includes within its definition of “discriminate,” an employer’s failure to provide a reasonable accommodation to a qualified individual with a disability. But, is a failure to accommodate standing alone—absent an adverse employment action—enough to establish an ADA failure-to-accommodate claim? For example, if an employer fails to accommodate a wheelchair-bound employee by refusing to move her office a few feet closer to the entrance, has the employer violated the ADA? In this scenario, assuming the facts show that traveling the extra distance is just a mere inconvenience, the answer likely depends on whether an adverse employment action is a required element of a failure-to-accommodate claim.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 05, 2018
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.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • September 23, 2018
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?
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • August 01, 2018
Holding that full-time presence at the workplace is not always an essential job function, on July 17, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed summary judgment in favor of the employer in an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) failure to accommodate case. The decision in Hostettler v. College of Wooster1 undermines the deference often afforded to employers in determining whether a particular function is an “essential” job function. Moreover, it appears to eliminate—at least within the Sixth Circuit—the argument that an accommodation permitting an employee to work less than full-time hours in a full-time position is per se unreasonable.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • August 01, 2018
A recent Third Circuit case, Sessoms v. Trs. Of the Univ. of Pa., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 16611 (3rd Cir. June 20, 2018), serves as a reminder that while the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees, it does not obligate an employer to provide the accommodation requested by the employee. An employer may choose among reasonable accommodations as long as the chosen accommodation is effective
Goldberg Segalla LLP • July 16, 2018
Under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), certain employers are required to make a reasonable accommodation to a qualified employee who has a disability. There is a growing trend in the federal courts that requests for an indefinite amount of time off from work due to a disability do not qualify as a reasonable accommodation and that an employer who denies such a request has not violated the ADA.
Ogletree Deakins • May 18, 2018
ven something as simple as a statement that an employee has changed his or her medications can be treated as notice from an employee that an accommodation might be needed. An employee need not use any particular words or phrasing to request an accommodation; he or she need not even use the word “accommodation.” The key is that the employee has given his or her manager notice that a health condition may be affecting the employee’s ability to do his or her job. Employers may want to train managers to recognize these types of statements as notice that a reasonable accommodation may be needed and initiate the interactive process upon hearing such statements.
Goldberg Segalla LLP • May 14, 2018
Employees should feel safe at work. But not everyone is that fortunate, including an assistant manager at a Burger King who was attacked at gunpoint when attempting to make a bank deposit on behalf of his employer. He allegedly suffered from PTSD and depression. Burger King denied his request for an accommodation by changing his work schedule prompting an interesting decision.
FordHarrison LLP • May 10, 2018
Executive Summary: Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, in Sepulveda-Vargas v. Caribbean Restaurants, LLC, affirmed a lower court’s decision in favor of the employer in a lawsuit alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), finding that the plaintiff, an assistant manager, was not a “qualified individual” under the ADA based on his inability to work rotating shifts, since the ability to work rotating shifts was an essential job function of the assistant manager position. The Court of Appeals further found that a temporary accommodation, which permitted the plaintiff to work a fixed schedule, did “not mean that [the employer] conceded that rotating shifts was a ‘non-essential’ function.” Finally, the First Circuit found that the employee’s claim of a retaliatory hostile environment was properly dismissed, since the district court found that “collectively [the alleged incidents] amount[ed] to nothing more than the petty insults and minor annoyances which are insufficient to constitute an adverse employment action under the ADA.” The First Circuit is the federal appeals court with jurisdiction over the federal district courts in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico and Rhode Island.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • April 04, 2018
Sometimes the actions a court doesn’t take can have a very big impact. The Supreme Court’s April 2, 2018 decision not to review a recent Seventh Circuit ruling is just one of the cases.
Goldberg Segalla LLP • April 02, 2018
It’s been said that the first step toward success is showing up. But is that always required in the workplace? More to the point, is physical presence an essential function of an employee’s job? Sometimes. In a recent decision, the Sixth Circuit addressed whether physical presence was an essential job function for an in-house legal counsel employee.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • March 14, 2018
Many employers have programs allowing employees to donate their own time off to another employee with serious medical or family issues. A dilemma often faced by employers with these policies is whether continued use of such donated time means the employee is not performing the essential function of attendance. On the one hand, the employee is not violating any attendance rules if the time off is donated under the program. On the other hand the employee may be taking an excessive amount of time off that is disruptive to the employee’s performance of essential job functions.
In a packed room at the 2018 SHRM Employment Law and Legislative Conference in Washington D.C., Eric Meyer of FisherBroyles, LLP provided practical guidance for HR Professionals so that they can handle an ADA accommodation situation at their organization.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • March 02, 2018
An employee who refused to stop using morphine and would not engage in the interactive process with his employer could not survive summary judgment on his disability discrimination and retaliation claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Sloan v. Repacorp, Inc., 3:16-cv-00161 (S.D. Ohio Feb. 27, 2018).
FordHarrison LLP • February 27, 2018
Executive Summary: On February 21, 2018, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held an attorney could perform the essential functions of her job while working remotely for a ten-week period. As a result, when the employer refused to permit the employee’s telecommuting request for the finite period, the employer failed to accommodate the employee in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the court.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • January 26, 2018
Dear Littler: One of our key employees was injured in a serious car accident. She qualified for, and took, a full 12 weeks of leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to recover. She was supposed to return to work on Monday but now says she’ll need to take at least another month off for physical therapy as a “reasonable accommodation.” Must we grant her this leave? Since when is NOT working considered a reasonable accommodation?
Ogletree Deakins • January 16, 2018
Is additional time off after a leave of absence a “reasonable” accommodation? The answer is unclear, and usually is “It depends.” Federal courts recently have disagreed with each other on the issue, and the question has received continued and increasing attention after the EEOC’s 2016 Guidance on medical leaves under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • November 30, 2017
While employers generally accept that they cannot apply a maximum leave period after which employees are automatically terminated, they continue to struggle with how much leave must be provided as a form of accommodation under the ADA. There is little dispute that leave for an indefinite period where the employee has a long term chronic condition is not a reasonable accommodation, but how much time must the employer give? Is a month of extended leave reasonable? Two months? Four months?
Jackson Lewis P.C. • November 12, 2017
On October 17, 2017, on the heels of its landmark decision in Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, the Seventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of the employer in its unpublished opinion in Golden v. Indianapolis Housing Agency, No. 17-1359 (7th Cir. Oct. 17, 2017), reiterating that “[a]n employee who needs long-term medical leave…is not a ‘qualified individual’ under the ADA.”
Jackson Lewis P.C. • November 02, 2017
Years ago, I had a legal assistant who was unable to get to work on time. I finally told her that she had to be in at 8:30 as that was when everyone else started their work day. Three days later, she appeared in my office, walked in and slapped a speeding ticket on my desk and insisted that I pay it because it was my fault that she was speeding to get to work on time.
XpertHR • October 31, 2017
A long-term medical leave of absence after Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave has been exhausted cannot be a reasonable accommodation, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in a pair of pro-employer decisions. In Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc., the appellate court found that a medical leave spanning multiple months does not permit the employee to perform essential job functions, as required under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • October 24, 2017
I read a New Yorker article about people bringing their dogs everywhere, claiming they were emotional support animals. It mentioned a dog trying to get into Carnegie Hall. But everyone knows there’s only one way to get there: Practice.
FordHarrison LLP • October 01, 2017
Executive Summary: When an employee seeks leave as an accommodation for a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the decision regarding whether to grant or deny the request can be challenging. Employers must look closely at the particular circumstances of every case in order to determine whether the amount of leave requested can be provided to the employee without causing undue hardship to the employer’s business.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • September 26, 2017
In a significant ruling for employers, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has held that a request for a two-to-three-month leave of absence is not a reasonable accommodation pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, No. 15-3754 (7th Cir. Sept. 20, 2017).
Ogletree Deakins • September 20, 2017
“Once an employer becomes aware of the need for accommodation, that employer has a mandatory obligation under the ADA to engage in an interactive process with the employee to identify and implement appropriate reasonable accommodations.” Nonetheless, in a recent opinion, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals clarified that the interactive process requires direct communication on both sides, between the employer and employee, to explore in good faith the possible accommodations. Phillips v. Victor Community Support Services, Inc., No. 15-15862, Unpublished (July 3, 2017).
Jackson Lewis P.C. • September 20, 2017
Diligent and well informed employers know that it is the best practice to engage in an individualized assessment of a requested accommodation. Sometimes an employer may be tempted to refuse to discuss an accommodation because it doesn’t believe that the request is reasonable or because the employee is not “qualified.” It should resist the temptation.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • September 04, 2017
Make no mistake about it: ADA compliance can be challenging. This is especially true when it comes to providing reasonable accommodation. Not uncommonly, managers wanting to do the right thing actually provide more than the law requires. Although well-intentioned, this practice often leads to conflict if more generous accommodations are later scaled back. Thankfully, a recent decision by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals supports the notion that employers should not be penalized for going beyond their legal obligations.
Goldberg Segalla LLP • August 14, 2017
Marijuana laws are evolving in the US. Marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act, and has no accepted medical use under federal law.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • July 25, 2017
Many businesses use temporary workers placed by staffing agencies. But who is responsible when a temporary worker requests a disability accommodation? The staffing agency and the business could both be responsible if they are acting as “joint employers” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Jackson Lewis P.C. • July 21, 2017
On July 17, 2017 the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that under the Massachusetts Anti-Discrimination law an employer may be required to accommodate an employee who is a current user of medical marijuana regardless of the employer’s drug free workplace and drug testing policies. While this decision is binding only in Massachusetts, it could represent the beginning of a significant shift in how employers will need to deal with employees using marijuana to treat a disability.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • June 06, 2017
n a recent blog post, I discussed the fact that under the reasonable accommodation provisions of the ADA, employers generally are not required to provide their employees with a stress-free work environment or one that possesses a “just right” amount of stress, which I referred to as a Goldilocks work environment
Fisher Phillips • May 25, 2017
A federal appellate court recently ruled that an employee’s request for 12 months of additional medical leave was not reasonable, and thereby upheld the dismissal of her Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuit against her former employer. Employers can learn three important lessons from the May 2, 2017 decision.
Ogletree Deakins • May 16, 2017
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires both a disabled employee and her employer to work interactively to identify reasonable accommodations for the disabled employee. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has underscored that requirement by dismissing the claims of an individual who, it found, failed to engage fully in the interactive process. Brown v. Milwaukee Board of School Directors, No. 16-1971, 7th Circuit, May 4, 2017.
Goldberg Segalla LLP • May 10, 2017
Is it reasonable for an Assistant Principal to return to her job if she has medical restrictions that prohibit her from interacting with potentially unruly students? The 7th Circuit examined this situation in Brown v. Milwaukee Bd. of Sch. Directors, which addresses “reasonable accommodations” under the ADA. Of course, the ADA requires employers to make “reasonable accommodations” that will allow a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of her job. So what is a reasonable accommodation? It depends on the company, the essential functions of the job, and the medical restrictions of the applicant or employee.
Ogletree Deakins • March 31, 2017
On March 15, 2017, in Moss v. Harris County Constable Precinct One, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed that an employer is not required to accommodate an employee who is requesting indefinite leave as a reasonable accommodation.
Ogletree Deakins • March 15, 2017
It’s true. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is taking the position that an emotional support animal may be a required reasonable accommodation in the workplace.
Ogletree Deakins • March 08, 2017
In a published opinion, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) do not require employers to excuse an employee’s misconduct even though the conduct was related to the employee’s disability. As a result, the Tenth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in the employer’s favor on the employee’s disability discrimination claim and FMLA retaliation claim. DeWitt v. Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, No. 14-3192, Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals (January 18, 2017).
Fisher Phillips • February 20, 2017
On July 9, 2012, David Moore filed a Charge with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) (Charge No. 530-2012-02470) alleging that the City of Philadelphia failed to reassign him to a new job as a reasonable accommodation when a heart condition left him unable to perform his current job. Instead, the City of Philadelphia terminated his employment.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • February 15, 2017
Employers can easily feel overwhelmed when it comes to enforcing employee attendance standards while providing reasonable accommodation to employees with chronic health conditions. Increasingly, however, court decisions such as Williams v. AT&T Mobility Services LLC are providing much-needed guidance regarding the scope of an employer’s duty to accommodate. The Williams case illustrates how carefully-designed policies, frequent communication, and a generous sprinkling of patience form key ingredients in the recipe for avoiding liability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Jackson Lewis P.C. • February 01, 2017
In case your news and twitter accounts are down, and you otherwise have not heard the news… President Trump has nominated Judge Gorsuch from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s vacant Supreme Court seat.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • January 31, 2017
What are employers to do if an employee has not provided a doctor’s note to continue his or her leave and the initial end date for that leave has passed?
Fisher Phillips • January 26, 2017
A federal appeals court upheld the termination of an employee who tried to blame her misconduct on her disability during the termination meeting itself. The court ruled that “retroactive leniency” was not a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and therefore the employer had no obligation to apply the brakes to its ongoing disciplinary process despite the employee’s pleas.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • January 09, 2017
In Quentin Tarantino's classic film, "Pulp Fiction," two hitmen, Jules and Vincent (played by Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta), find themselves in a farcical and escalating "mess" – requiring the advice of a "fixer" known as "The Wolf" (played by Harvey Keitel). The Wolf arrives at the scene, assesses the situation with cool detachment, and develops a detailed plan to extricate Jules and Vincent from their unsavory dilemma. Imagine "The Wolf" insisting on phoning in his assistance instead of working in person with Jules and Vincent. Would he have been as effective? In this podcast, we discuss how agile work and employee requests to work from home implicate obligations under employment laws – specifically the Americans with Disabilities Act and other non-discrimination laws.
Ogletree Deakins • January 03, 2017
Individuals wishing to begin the new year by taking a beloved pet or emotional support animal out to a restaurant may run into new legal deterrents in some states. While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) entitles people with disabilities to bring “service animals” into public places such as restaurants and stores, many individuals do not realize which animals the law covers.
Fisher Phillips • December 29, 2016
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a disabled worker forced to leave her position because of her physical impairment must compete for vacant jobs when seeking reassignment, handing a victory to her former employer. By concluding that employers have no obligation to provide preferential treatment to individuals with disabilities when attempting to accommodate them via reassignment, the court decision runs in direct conflict with various other circuits – and the EEOC – which have ruled otherwise. Unless and until the Supreme Court steps in to resolve the circuit split, employers must be sure to carefully navigate the various standards that exist across the country when accommodating their employees.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • December 16, 2016
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) suffered a setback in its attempt to establish that the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requires an employer to reassign an employee to an available position without having to compete with other candidates for that position. In EEOC v. St. Joseph’s Hospital, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that a Florida District Court correctly interpreted the ADA when it held that there is no mandate for noncompetitive reassignment as an accommodation.
FordHarrison LLP • December 12, 2016
Executive Summary – If an employee can no longer perform the essential functions of his or her position due to a disability, one common form of reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is reassignment to a vacant position. Last week, in U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. St. Joseph’s Hospital, 2016 WL 7131479 (11th Cir. 2016), the Eleventh Circuit (the federal appeals court over Florida, Georgia and Alabama) rejected a long-standing position of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC) that as long as the disabled employee is qualified for the position the employer must place the employee in the vacant position and cannot require the employee to compete for it.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • November 22, 2016
In a case addressing a challenging accommodation scenario faced by many employers, a Florida District Court held in Hargett v. Florida Atlantic University Board of Trustees that an employee seeking a less stressful environment and an end to hostile confrontations with her manager was not seeking a reasonable accommodation. The employee suffered from epilepsy with seizures brought on by high tension and stress. She demanded as a reasonable accommodation that her supervisor cease his “hostile confrontations” with her. She also requested that her employer provide her with “calm, fair, non-confrontational treatment.”
Ogletree Deakins • November 02, 2016
In contrast to Parker v. Crete Carrier Corporation, et al, in Kowitz v. Trinity Health, et al, No. 15-1584 (October 17, 2016), a split panel of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment for an employer on an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claim, finding a factual dispute about whether the employer knew the employee needed an accommodation despite the absence of a formal request for accommodation.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 26, 2016
It is common gospel that when a qualified disabled employee requests accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), both employer and employee must engage in an interactive dialogue to discuss the options.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • October 21, 2016
A workforce that adheres to a traditional work style, or a consistent eight-hour workday in the same location – with no offsite work or interaction with business colleagues or customers – is increasingly becoming a relic in many settings. Whether at a coffee house, commuter train, airport lounge, or soccer field, transactions, communications, and decisions take place on a range of devices away from the brick-and-mortar jobsite.
Franczek Radelet P.C • October 20, 2016
A divided federal appeals court recently reminded employers that an employee’s request for a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) need not be explicit in order to invoke the interactive accommodation process. In Kowitz v. Trinity Health, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals found that, based on the circumstances presented in the case, an employee had made an implied request for a reasonable accommodation.
Franczek Radelet P.C • June 29, 2016
Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of conducting a webinar with EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum on the topic of “leave” as an ADA reasonable accommodation in light of the EEOC’s new technical resource issued on this topic in early May 2016. If you missed the program, you can access the webinar and materials here. In addition to covering information contained in the EEOC’s new resource document, we also identified some practical approaches in determining whether and how much leave employers are obligated to provide when it comes to the ADA.
Franczek Radelet P.C • May 24, 2016
Earlier this month, the EEOC issued a technical assistance resource on leave as an ADA reasonable accommodation under the ADA. I am delighted that EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum will join me for a webinar to take a deep dive into the information provided in the EEOC’s resource and apply the technical assistance to a variety of real-life scenarios.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • May 19, 2016
Since June 2011, when the EEOC suggested it might issue guidance on leave as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA, we have likened the wait to waiting for Godot. See here and here. After nearly five years of reciting that “it didn’t come today, it might come tomorrow,” on May 9, 2016, the EEOC issued a “resource document” on leave and the ADA. Unlike in Beckett’s play, Godot arrived.
Ogletree Deakins • May 15, 2016
On May 9, 2016, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a resource document titled, “Employer-Provided Leave and the Americans with Disabilities Act,” which offers insights into when employers should provide leave as an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As a refresher, the ADA requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations to applicants and employees with disabilities who require such accommodations due to their disabilities. Under the ADA, employers would not be obligated to provide a “reasonable accommodation” if it would cause “undue hardship” to the employer.
Responding to an all-time high rate of disability charges filed in fiscal year 2015, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued a new publication reiterating an employer's obligation, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), to provide leave as a reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • May 11, 2016
On May 9, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a resource document addressing the rights of employees with disabilities who seek leave as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). This document consolidates existing guidance by the EEOC on the ADA and leaves of absences regarding, among other things, leave as a reasonable accommodation, including the interactive process and policies on leave, reinstatement and reassignment.
Franczek Radelet P.C • May 10, 2016
For years, employers across America have been clamoring for guidance from the EEOC about how they should manage an employee’s request for extended or intermittent leave from work and how much leave is considered as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. This week, employers received an answer.
Ogletree Deakins • May 10, 2016
To support a failure-to-accommodate claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a plaintiff must establish both a prima facie case of discrimination and an employer’s failure to accommodate it.
Franczek Radelet P.C • January 21, 2016
One of the most difficult issues an HR professional or in-house employment counsel faces is how to deal with an employee who cannot return to work after FMLA leave expires. Is additional leave beyond 12 weeks required? The answer is almost always ‘yes.’ But how much leave are we obligated to provide? And what if the employee already has taken months of leave and doesn’t really know when she’ll return?
Ogletree Deakins • January 04, 2016
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has held that under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an employer may rely on a credible, scientifically-based medical opinion to exclude someone from returning to work, even if that opinion is contradicted by another medical provider’s opinion.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 12, 2015
A recently settled lawsuit brought by the EEOC against an Arizona trucking company highlights the importance for companies to always consider unpaid leave as a reasonable accommodation and to ensure their managers and supervisors are trained on all federal, state and local discrimination laws.
Ogletree Deakins • September 18, 2015
It’s true in other areas of employment law as well, but in the world of disability discrimination law there are numerous phrases that have taken on special meaning and become true terms of art. Even those who are well-versed in other areas of employment law and HR often find it difficult to understand the meaning of some of these commonly-used words and phrases. Supervisors and HR personnel who do not understand the meaning of these key phrases may end up failing to comply with the strict rules and regulations of state and federal disability laws.
Ogletree Deakins • August 31, 2015
Dealing with issues related to accommodation requests at work can be a daunting task—even for the most seasoned HR or legal professional. The path to a successful interactive process and a meaningful analysis of an accommodation request is fraught with landmines at every turn. Though professionals are required to use judgment and perform an individualized assessment for each new accommodation request, there are some protocols employers can use as a guideline each time the need arises.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • August 05, 2015
Sometimes it seems an employer has done a lot to accommodate an employee under the ADA, yet the employee claims the employer should have done more. The Seventh Circuit addressed such a situation in Swanson v. Village of Flossmoor (7th Cir. July 24, 2015).
FordHarrison LLP • April 23, 2015
Executive Summary: Reversing an earlier panel decision, the Sixth Circuit has held that an employee who was unable to regularly and consistently attend work was not a qualified individual with a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because her excessive absences prevented her from performing the essential functions of her job. Accordingly, the employer was not required to permit her to telecommute because doing so would excuse her from performing one of the essential functions of her job and, thus, was not a reasonable accommodation. See EEOC v. Ford Motor Company, (April 10, 2015).
Ogletree Deakins • April 16, 2015
On April 10, 2015, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its long-awaited en banc decision in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Ford Motor Company following a vacated panel decision from April 2014 in which a divided panel had reversed a district court’s summary judgment award in Ford’s favor.
Franczek Radelet P.C • April 15, 2015
Courts have repeatedly recognized that “regular job attendance” is an essential function of most jobs that need not be altered in order to reasonably accommodate a disabled employee. This common sense notion, however, has come under increasing scrutiny given the technological advancements that have made telecommuting and other remote working arrangements routine in many workplaces.
Ogletree Deakins • January 19, 2015
A diabetic employee who quit her job in response to her employer’s rejection of her suggested “reasonable accommodation” cannot support claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), according to the First Circuit Court of Appeals, because she failed to participate in the interactive process in good faith. EEOC v. Kohl’s Dep’t Stores, Inc., No. 14-1268 (December 19, 2014).
Ogletree Deakins • January 05, 2015
A diabetic employee who quit her job in response to the employer’s rejection of her suggested “reasonable accommodation” cannot support claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), because she failed to participate in the interactive process in good faith, according to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. EEOC v. Kohl’s Dep’t Stores, Inc., 1st Cir., No. 14-1268, December 19 2014.
Ogletree Deakins • October 28, 2014
Job restructuring is one of the accommodations that an employer must consider under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its regulations. Recently, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that if a minor adjustment to the work duties of a few other nursing home employees would have enabled the home’s hairdresser to perform the duty of pushing her customers’ wheelchairs to hairdressing appointments despite her disability, the nursing home’s refusal to consider making that adjustment was unlawful. Kaufmann v. Petersen Health Care VII, LLC, 7th Cir., 2014, No. 13-3661 (October 16, 2014).
FordHarrison LLP • July 30, 2014
Executive Summary: When is modification of a no-fault or inflexible leave of absence policy required as an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? Although the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has taken the position that, absent undue hardship, an employer must modify such a policy to allow for additional leave to a disabled employee, the case law interpreting the ADA has provided no definitive guidance for determining when requests for additional leave may be unreasonable under the Act.
Ogletree Deakins • June 13, 2014
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance provides that employers violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by enforcing inflexible policies with specified leave limits.
Goldberg Segalla LLP • May 16, 2014
In a 2-1 decision, the Sixth Circuit in EEOC v. Ford Motor Co., No. 12-2484 (6th Cir. April 22, 2014) has dealt employers a blow regarding the extent to which a company must reasonably accommodate an employee with a disability. In this particular case, the employee sought a four-day-per-week telecommuting arrangement. Even though Ford found in its business judgment that this was not a workable arrangement, the court disagreed, noting that due to modern technology, the types of jobs where employees can fulfill all essential requirements while working remotely has significantly increased.
FordHarrison LLP • April 30, 2014
Executive Summary: The Sixth Circuit recently held that a four day per week telecommuting arrangement could be a reasonable accommodation for a disabled employee, even though the employer determined, in its business judgment, that teleconferencing was an insufficient substitute for in-person work. The court noted that, given the state of modern technology, the class of cases in which an employee can fulfill all requirements of the job while working remotely has greatly increased, and it is no longer the case that jobs suitable for telecommuting are "extraordinary" or "unusual." See EEOC v. Ford Motor Co., No. 12-2484 (6th Cir. Apr. 22, 2014).
Ogletree Deakins • April 28, 2014
A recent decision by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals seems to have sent many employers into a tailspin on whether and how often to allow employees to telecommute to fulfill job responsibilities. EEOC v. Ford Motor Company, 6th Cir., No. 12-2484, April 22, 2014. (FindLaw.com link.) However, at this point, it is too early to tell what kind of effect the decision will have on a wider basis.
Fisher Phillips • April 16, 2014
Employers must understand their accommodation obligations. Denying an accommodation request because the employee is not disabled is a risky proposition.
Ogletree Deakins • April 08, 2014
A recent ruling by the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico clarifies that Law 44, Puerto Rico’s counterpart to the federal American with Disabilities Act (ADA), applies only to employers and does not provide for individual liability. Accordingly, claims brought against individual defendants under Law 44 are subject to dismissal.
Ogletree Deakins • February 18, 2014
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied a motion filed by United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS) to dismiss a claim by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of a class of individuals challenging the company’s leave policy. The challenged policy requires that employees “be administratively separated” from employment after 12 months of medical leave. EEOC v. United Parcel Service, Inc., N.D. Ill., No. 09C5291, February 11, 2014.
Goldberg Segalla LLP • January 21, 2014
On January 13, the Seventh Circuit issued an opinion in Spurling v. C&M Fine Pack, Inc., 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 660, reversing an Indiana District Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the employer on a narcoleptic employee’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claim, but affirming the dismissal of the employee’s Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) claims. It is a case with clear implications for employers regarding the ADA and the FMLA.
Fisher Phillips • November 12, 2013
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) poses ongoing compliance challenges and attracts significant attention from plaintiffs' lawyers and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The resulting litigation continues to illustrate that inflexible policies and practices are a recipe for disaster.
FordHarrison LLP • October 07, 2013
Executive Summary: The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that a request for a reserved, free on-site parking space could have been a request for a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) even though parking did not relate to the performance of the employee's essential job functions. See Feist v. State of Louisiana, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 19133 (5th Cir. Sept. 16, 2013).
Franczek Radelet P.C • October 02, 2013
In a case recently decided under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)—Suvada v. Gordon Flesch Company, Inc.—a federal district court in Chicago allowed a production clerk’s claim for constructive discharge against her former employer, an office-services company, to proceed to trial.
Franczek Radelet P.C • June 10, 2013
For ages, the employer community has awaited guidance from the EEOC regarding how much additional leave, if any, an employer is required to provide an employee as an ADA reasonable accommodation when an employee is unable to return to work after exhausting FMLA leave. (Depending on what the EEOC says in that eventual guidance, however, employers may regret asking for it in the first place.)
Franczek Radelet P.C • March 13, 2013
In a case involving a schizophrenic employee whose medication caused him to feel drowsy and sluggish in the morning, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that on-time arrival at work is not always an essential job function. In McMillan v. City of New York, McMillan, the plaintiff, worked as a case manager for New York City’s Human Resources Administration (HRA), conducting home visits, processing social assessments, recertifying clients’ Medicaid eligibility, referring clients to other social service agencies, and otherwise meeting with clients and addressing their concerns. HRA had a flex-time policy allowing employees to arrive at work anytime between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m. Due to elevator wait times at HRA’s offices, employees were not considered tardy unless they arrived after 10:15 a.m. An employee whose late arrival was approved by a supervisor could use “banked” leave time to cover time missed. An employee whose late arrival was not approved was subject to discipline.
Ogletree Deakins • March 11, 2013
Employers are aware of the fact that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires them to engage in an interactive process in order to determine whether a disabled individual can be accommodated to assist him or her in performing the essential functions of a job. In determining the essential functions of a position, most employers assume that physical presence and arrival at work at a consistent time are essential functions of most jobs.
Ogletree Deakins • March 04, 2013
The use of light duty assignments to employees who are returning to work after recuperation from an illness or injury is an often used mechanism. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has held that neither the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) nor the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) creates an obligation for an employer to provide light duty work to an individual who is unable – with or without accommodation – to return to the essential functions of his job. James v. Hyatt Regency Chicago, 7th Cir., No. 1:09-cv-07873, February 13, 2013.
Ogletree Deakins • January 21, 2013
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently addressed an issue of first impression, finding that the ability to hear is not necessarily an “essential function” of the job of lifeguard. Keith v. County of Oakland, 6th Cir., No. 11-2276, January 10, 2013. In addition, however, the Court made a number of other, more generally applicable observations. The most noteworthy is a statement that seems to create an obligation on the part of an employer to fully understand the background and experience of any expert who is relied upon to assist in determining whether a disabled individual can be accommodated in a particular position.
Franczek Radelet P.C • September 25, 2012
The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) did not require a power company to grant a diabetic employee’s request to work a straight day shift. (Kallail v. Alliant Energy Corporate Servs. Inc.) The employee was employed as one of several “resource coordinators” who monitor power distribution and schedule and route resources to respond to routine and emergency situations such as power outages. To provide 24/7 coverage, resource coordinators are required to work a schedule rotating between eight and 12-hour shifts, days and nights. As an insulin-dependent diabetic, the employee began experiencing erratic changes in her blood pressure and blood sugar which put her at higher risk for diabetic complications and death, a development her physician attributed to her work schedule. The employee asked to be accommodated with a straight day shift.
Franczek Radelet P.C • September 12, 2012
accommodate a disabled employee did not extend to reassigning the employee to a vacant position if a more qualified candidate had applied. Rather, an employer satisfied its duty to accommodate by allowing the disabled employee to apply for a vacant position for which he or she was qualified; however, the employer had no duty to award the position to the disabled employee if he or she was not the most qualified candidate.
Franczek Radelet P.C • September 06, 2012
In light of the EEOC's litigation over automatic termination provisions under the ADA (we've beaten you over the head with it here and here),
Ogletree Deakins • September 04, 2012
An issue that confounds employers on a regular basis is whether the discharge of an employee who is unable to return to work after a medical leave will violate the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). Most employers understand their obligation to engage in an interactive process to determine a reasonable accommodation that will assist the employee in returning. But questions often arise regarding whether to allow the employee a reprieve from undertaking the essential functions of the job to which he or she is returning, and whether that reprieve can be for an indefinite period of time.
Franczek Radelet P.C • July 24, 2012
The scenario is all too common: An employee takes and exhausts 12 weeks of FMLA leave and still cannot return to work. At this point, the employer is left with a dilemma -- does it terminate employment because the employee cannot immediately return to work, or does it consider approving more leave than the 12 weeks provided for under the Family and Medical Leave Act? This series of events is a regular trap for employers and, often enough, an employer gets ensnared in the trap without first analyzing its obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Franczek Radelet P.C • July 18, 2012
Recently, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia held that a successor employer lawfully refused to continue granting an accommodation made by its predecessor.
Ogletree Deakins • April 09, 2012
The Federal Circuits currently are split on the issue of whether the ADA requires reassignment of disabled employees to vacant positions when a more qualified candidate exists, with the 10th Circuit and the District of Columbia Circuit holding that the ADA creates preferential treatment for disabled candidates, and the 7th and 8th Circuits holding that while such reassignment may be a reasonable accommodation, the ADA does not obligate employers to reassign a disabled individual if a better qualified applicant exists.
Franczek Radelet P.C • March 15, 2012
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) generally requires an employer to make a reasonable accommodation for a qualified applicant or employeeâ€™s physical or mental limitations unless the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would pose an undue hardship on its operations. The focus of the inquiry under the ADA often turns on whether an employer offered a reasonable accommodation, especially because the 2008 Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act significantly lowered the threshold for the kinds of conditions that qualify as covered disabilities.
Franczek Radelet P.C • March 07, 2012
When it comes to employee leaves of absences, compliance with the overlapping requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) can challenge even the most seasoned of human resources professionals. A recent federal court case highlights some of the pitfalls awaiting employers when an employee asks for additional leave as an accommodation under the ADA. (Valdez v. McGill)
Ogletree Deakins • February 08, 2012
A Virginia district court has held, once again, that a hospital does not have to accommodate a nurse whose disability causes lifting restrictions so extensive that, in effect, she cannot perform the essential functions of her position.
Franczek Radelet P.C • September 12, 2011
Thanks to those who attended my webinar last week with EEOC Regional Attorney John Hendrickson on "Examining the Use of 'Leave' as a Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA." If you missed the program, you can access the webinar and materials here. As the survey feedback indicated, it was a great opportunity to discuss issues specifically relating to leaves of absence under the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Ogletree Deakins • December 13, 2010
A medical resident with Asperger’s Disorder was unable to meet his burden, in his ADA lawsuit against his hospital employer, that he was “otherwise qualified” for his position. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld summary judgment in favor of the hospital, because the resident’s requested accommodation - that the hospital physician and staff be educated on the symptoms and triggers of Asperger’s - did not address the key obstacle preventing him from performing a necessary function of his job, or resolve his inability to fulfill his responsibilities as a hospital resident.
Ogletree Deakins • October 08, 2010
Which brings me, long way round so to speak, to the report in Eau Claire Leader Telegram of Tuesday's verdict in a Madison, Wisconsin trial of a teacher's disability claim. Former Somerset teacher wins $2 million lawsuit.
Ogletree Deakins • July 30, 2010
Earlier this year, and in a case of first impression, the 3d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an employee’s claim that her employer violated the ADA by refusing to change her work shift after she reported commuting difficulties based upon a visual impairment that made it difficult for her to drive at night. Now, in an unpublished opinion, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a similar decision. In that case, the Court reversed a decision in favor of an employer, allowing an individual’s claim to go to trial on the issue of whether the company failed to accommodate the employee’s visual impairment when it refused to modify her work schedule to daylight only hours.
Ogletree Deakins • April 23, 2010
In an unusual case of first impression, the 3d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has held that under certain circumstances, the ADA may obligate an employer to accommodate an employee’s disability-related difficulties in getting to work. In that case, the Court reversed summary judgment in favor of an employer and held that changing a part-time employee’s schedule to day shift – because her monocular vision made it dangerous for her to drive at night – could be a reasonable accommodation under the ADA
Ogletree Deakins • July 13, 2009
As defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the term “discriminate” includes an employer’s failure to make reasonable accommodations to the limitations of a disabled employee. Reasonable accommodation may include reassignment to a vacant position within the company. The 10th U.S. Circuit court of Appeals recently held that a disabled employee could not support her failure-to-accommodate claim under the ADA, because she did not present evidence of any specific vacant positions to which she could have been transferred.
Fisher Phillips • June 02, 2009
Imagine a big night at your restaurant: the place is packed with guests, all enjoying themselves. A diner shows up with an unexpected companion – a dog. You're concerned about health regulations and the effect on other patrons. Politely but firmly you tell the guest she cannot enter with the dog. Either it stays outside or she does. Any problem? Yes. You've just politely but firmly violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Ogletree Deakins • May 04, 2009
The 8th U.S. Circuit court of Appeals recently upheld summary judgment in favor of an employer who terminated the employment of an individual undergoing cancer treatment. Peyton v. Fred’s Stores of Arkansas, Inc., 8th Cir., No. 08-2346, April 15, 2009. In that case, the Court held that because there was no reasonable accommodation that would have allowed the individual to perform the essential functions of her job during the period in which she was absent for treatment, there was no violation of the ADA.
Ogletree Deakins • August 05, 2008
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that employers engage in an "interactive process" with employees to determine whether an employee's disability can be reasonably accommodated. A federal appellate court recently held that an employer failed to engage in this process when it did not initiate the issue of accommodation with an employee whom it allegedly perceived to be disabled.
Ogletree Deakins • July 16, 2008
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that employers engage in an “interactive process” and to work together with disabled employees to determine whether an employee’s disability can be reasonably accommodated. Recently, the 2d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that Wal-Mart failed to engage in this process when it did not initiate the issue of accommodation with an employee whom it perceived to be disabled. Brady v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, et al, 2d Circ., No. 06-5486-cv, July 2, 2008.
Fisher Phillips • March 05, 2008
While the Supreme Court stands to be quite busy in the next several months deciding important employment law questions, it will not issue a ruling in one of the more widely-anticipated cases that had appeared on its docket this term: Huber v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
This case was to decide the correct standard to apply in ADA cases when an employee seeks a reassignment to a new position as a reasonable accommodation – should that employee merely be afforded the opportunity to compete with other applicants in the normal hiring pool, or should the employer be forced to grant preferential treatment and automatically reassign that employee above more qualified applicants?