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Total Articles: 15

California Federal Court Says Employers Need Not Approve Multiple Leaves of Absence Where an Employee was Totally Disabled and Could Not Provide a Definite End Date to the Leave

Executive Summary: The Southern District Court of California, in Ruiz v. ParadigmWorks Group, Inc., held that an employer was not at fault for failing to grant an employee’s request for multiple medical leaves of absence where the employee was totally disabled and she could not provide a “finite end date to [her] total disability.”

Recovering Alcoholic’s Claims Dismissed Because He Did Not Show He Was “Disabled”

A federal court in New York dismissed all claims asserted by a recovering alcoholic under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act for numerous reasons including that he did not show he was “disabled.” Johnson v. N.Y. State Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Servs., No. 16-cv-9769 (S.D.N.Y. March 13, 2018).

That Stinks! EEOC Sues on Behalf of Employee Denied Relief from Workplace Smells

On July 12, 2017, the EEOC filed suit in the Middle District of North Carolina alleging that an employer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by refusing a request to telecommute from an employee with a sensitivity to workplace smells.

The "D" in the ADA Still Exists, Court of Appeals Reminds Us

In 2009, Congress passed the Americans With Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA), unquestionably expanding the definition of a disability under the ADA and, for all practical purposes in most cases, shifting the focus of disability lawsuits in federal court.

What is a Disability? The DOJ’s Final ADAAA Rule is Here.

Today, after a two year wait, the Department of Justice will publish its final rule amending the ADA regulations to incorporate the 2008 statutory changes set forth in the ADAAA, which took effect on January 1, 2009.

Is Everyone Disabled? Temporary Disabilities and the Ever-Expanding Definition of “Disability"

Following the amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)—the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA)—employers were told to refrain from asking employees whether they were disabled. The employer community took this instruction with a grain of salt, knowing that although the scope of employees covered under the amendments was significantly greater, there were certain conditions that did not constitute a disability. More recent case law may be proving that theory wrong and, instead, showing that “all” (or almost all!) employees are disabled.

Fourth Circuit Upholds ADAAA's Broad Definition of "Disability".

Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) over five years ago on Sept.17, 2008. The act’s stated purpose was to reinstate “a broad scope of protection to be available under the ADA” as the result of several decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court that had created an “inappropriately high level of limitation necessary to obtain coverage under the ADA.”

Montana Obesity Ruling May Be Cause For Concern

The Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA) did not change the definition of impairment but it may have changed the EEOC's view on whether obesity is an impairment.

The ADA Amendments Act of 2008: Practical Implications for Employers in 2012 and Beyond"

Employment and labor law attorney Molly Hughes Cherry co-authored an article for the Defense Counsel Journal, a publication of the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC).

Company's "100% healed" policy does not create per se disability discrimination.

In a case that adds to a split among federal appellate courts, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has held that a company’s insistence on an employee being “100% healed” after a medical leave does not necessarily support the employee’s legal claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Powers v. USF Holland, Inc., 7th Cir., No. 10-2363, December 15, 2011.

EEOC Takes Aggressive Measures to Enforce the ADAAA

Phelps Dunbar has been advising our clients over the last year to expect an increase in EEOC charges and litigation following the passage of the Amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Since the EEOC's final regulation under the Act were published in March of last year we have seen a sharp increase in EEOC charges filed under the ADA. Many of those charges have now worked their way through the EEOC process and we are seeing an increase in litigation that the EEOC is pursuing on behalf of employees who allege that they have been denied a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.

ADA Cases Are No Longer Unwelcome in Plaintiff Counsel's Offices

Lynne Seabrook was working as an assistant registrar for Upper Iowa University focusing on its Malaysia campus when she was terminated in February 2009. She felt that the termination was because she had been diagnosed with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety.


The wait is over. Following its consideration of over 600 written comments and four “town hall listening sessions,” the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its final regulations March 25, 2011, implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA). The regulations took effect May 24, 2011, and provide further insight into how claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will be addressed by the EEOC and the courts.

Impairment caused by medication's side effects may be a disability, even if underlying condition is not.

The 3d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled, consistently with the Seventh, Eighth, and Eleventh Circuits, that the side effects of medication may render an individual “disabled” for purposes of the Americans with Disabilities Act, even though the underlying condition for which the medication was prescribed does not

Disabled employees must provide corroborating evidence of non-obvious, medically necessary accommodations.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers and employees are required to engage in an interactive process with respect to a disabled employee’s request for a reasonable accommodation. In cases of psychological disability - depression, for example - necessary accommodations may be non-obvious to the employer. In those cases, courts have held that in order to trigger an employer’s obligation to provide accommodation, a disabled employee must make the employer aware of any non-obvious, medically necessary accommodations by supplying corroborating evidence, such as a doctor’s note or statement. Recently, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s dismissal of a case, and found that a school failed to engage in the required interactive process after a teacher provided a doctor’s statement that linked the teacher’s Seasonal Affective Disorder depression to the lack of windows in her classroom.
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