Total Articles: 57
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in Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, the Seventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of the employer in its unpublished opinion in Golden v. Indianapolis Housing Agency, No. 17-1359 (7th Cir. Oct. 17, 2017), reiterating that “[a]n employee who needs long-term medical leave…is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).
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).
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.”
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 • 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 • 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.
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 • 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.
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.
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 • 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.)
Brody and Associates, LLC • March 25, 2013
How can companies change policies or take away benefits without enraging employees and creating a public relations nightmare?
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.
Brody and Associates, LLC • November 05, 2012
In EEOC v. United Airlines, the Seventh Circuit overruled a decision from 2000 and held the Americans with Disabilities Act mandates employers appoint disabled employees to vacant positions for which they are qualified, even though they are not the most qualified person for the job.
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.
Phelps Dunbar LLP • September 18, 2012
In EEOC v. United Airlines, Inc., No. 11-1774, 2012 WL 3871503 (7th Cir. Sept. 7, 2012), the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") requires as a reasonable accommodation that employers reassign disabled employees to vacant positions for which they are at least minimally qualified, absent a particularized showing of undue hardship. In doing so, the court overruled its prior decision in EEOC v. Humiston-Keeling, 227 F.3d 1024 (7th Cir. 2000), which held that an employer was not required to reassign a disabled employee to a vacant position for which there was a better candidate, provided that the employer had a "consistent and honest policy" of hiring the best candidate for the job.
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.
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 • 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.
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.
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?