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Total Articles: 20

Courts Continue to Wrestle with Whether Long-Term Leave Can Be a Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA

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.

ADA Does Not Provide Medical Leave Entitlement to Worker Seeking Post-FMLA Leave, Seventh Circuit Holds

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).

12 Months of Additional ADA Leave Not Reasonable, Court Says

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.

Is Never Returning to Work a Reasonable Accommodation? Fifth Circuit Says No

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.

Breaks and Flexible Hours Not a Reasonable ADA Accommodation for Frequently Absent Employee, Court Holds

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).

Join EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum and me for a Webinar on the EEOC's New Resource on Leave as an ADA Reasonable Accommodation

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.

Unlike Godot, ADA Leave Guidance Arrives

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.

New EEOC Resource Document: More Questions Than Answers About Return-From-Leave Under the ADA

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.

New EEOC Publication Clarifies Disability Accommodation Requirements

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.

EEOC Weighs in on Leave as a Reasonable Accommodation

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.

An Employee's "Hope" That She'll Return to Work Isn't Enough to Require Additional Leave under the ADA

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?

Must an Employer Modify its Leave of Absence Policy to Ensure Compliance with the ADA?

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.

Tenth Circuit Upholds Employer’s Inflexible Leave Policy

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance provides that employers violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by enforcing inflexible policies with specified leave limits.

EEOC challenges employer's 12-month maximum medical leave policy.

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.

Failure to Provide Additional Leave as ADA Accommodation Could Prove Costly to Employers

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.)

An "Indefinite Reprieve" of Essential Functions of Job Not a Reasonable Accommodation under the ADA

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),

An indefinite exemption from the essential functions of a job is not a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.

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.

Court Confirms that Request for Additional Leave of an Unspecified Duration is Not a Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA

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)

Employer Best Practices: "Leave" as a Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA

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.

Request For an Indefinite Leave of Absence is Not a Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA.

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.