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Total Articles: 11

Eighth Circuit Leaves Open the Question of Whether a “Mixed-Motive” or “But-For” Causation Standard Should be Applied to Disability Discrimination Claims Under the ADA

On December 22, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued an opinion in the case of Oehmke v. Medtronic, Inc., Case No. 16-1052, affirming the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant/employer on plaintiff’s claims of disability discrimination and retaliation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA).

Eighth Circuit Leaves Open the Question of Whether a “Mixed-Motive” or “But-For” Causation Standard Should be Applied to Disability Discrimination Claims Under the ADA

On December 22, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued an opinion in the case of Oehmke v. Medtronic, Inc., Case No. 16-1052, affirming the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant/employer on plaintiff’s claims of disability discrimination and retaliation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA).

Fourth Circuit Adopts ‘But For’ Standard for Proof of Discrimination under Americans with Disabilities Act

A plaintiff’s discrimination claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act must be proven using the “but-for” standard, instead of the less demanding “motivating factor” test, the federal appeals court for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, has held, joining the Sixth and Seventh Circuits in adopting the tougher standard of proof. Gentry v. East West Partners Management Co., Inc., et al., No. 14-2382, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 4128 (4th Cir. 2016).

Fifth Circuit Adopts Standard in Disability Cases That Will Make it Harder for Employers to Obtain Summary Judgment

In Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. LHC Group Inc., the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals evaluated a trial court’s grant of summary judgment to an employer on an employee’s disability discrimination claims. In reaching its decision on the disability discrimination claim related to the employee’s discharge, the Fifth Circuit adopted a prima facie case formulation that will likely make it more difficult for employers to obtain summary judgment in disability discrimination cases involving termination.

Worker Failed to Show Pretext Following Contract Nonrenewal

The district court properly dismissed a former employee’s retaliation claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because she failed to prove that the employer’s performance-based reasons for her termination were a pretext for discrimination, the First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. Collazo-Rosado v. University of Puerto Rico, No. 13-1641 (September 2, 2014).

Sixth Circuit Eases Plaintiffs’ ADA Burden; Proof of “Sole” Cause No Longer Required

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently adopted the “but for” causation standard for claims brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). According to the federal appellate court with jurisdiction in Ohio, the plain language of the ADA does not provide that a plaintiff must prove that his or her disability was the “sole” cause of the adverse employment action. Lewis v. Humboldt Acquisition Corp., No. 09-6381, Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (May 25, 2012).

D.C. Circuit Clarifies ADA Causation Standard

On December 9, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed a lower court’s entry of judgment in favor of George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (GWU) on claims brought by Carolyn Singh, a former medical student, for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in Singh v. George Washington Univ. Sch. of Med. & Health Scis. This recent decision, the second D.C. Circuit decision in the Singh case, offers valuable guidance to higher education institutions with regard to accommodation of students with learning disabilities.

Short-Term Pregnancy Complications Found Not to Be a Disability

In a case of first impression in a court of appeals, the Seventh Circuit recently ruled that pregnancy-related complications can rise to the level of a "disability" within the meaning of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). However, such complications, if they are of limited duration and dissipate once a woman gives birth, may not be "substantially limiting." Under those circumstances, no "disability" exists and no duty of reasonable accommodation is owed.

Employee must meet legitimate job expectations in order to support a claim under the ADA.

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals because of disability or perceived disability. However, in order to sufficiently support an ADA claim, an individual employee must be able to prove that he was qualified to perform his job in a satisfactory manner, with or without accommodation. Recently, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld summary judgment in favor of an employer, based upon the fact tat the plaintiff/employee, although disabled, was unable to show that he was meeting the legitimate job expectations of his employer and therefore was not a “qualified individual with a disability” under the ADA. Dickerson v. Bd. Of Trustees of Comm. College District 522, 7th Cir., No. 10-3381, September 16, 2011.

Under the ADAAA, individual with episodic disability does not have to be "substantially limited" at the time of complained-of adverse action.

The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) clarified the ADA in a number of ways. In one significant clarification, the ADAAA provides that “an impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.” Based upon that wording, a federal district court in the Northern District of Indiana has held that an employee with cancer is considered to be disabled under the Act, even if his condition is in remission at the time of he alleged adverse action taken against help by his employer.

Termination of Teacher After Her Complaints on Behalf of Disabled Students Can Support May Constitute ADA Retaliation.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has held that a teacher’s statements on behalf of disabled students were “protected activity” under the ADA, and that the teacher had standing to sue for retaliation under the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.