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The Domino(’s) Effect—What to Expect as a Result of SCOTUS’s Denial of Cert

On October 7, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States dashed the hopes of the business community for relief from website access litigation when it announced that it had denied Domino’s Pizza, LLC’s petition for certiorari. The petition sought review of a recent decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Can You Be “Regarded as” Disabled Based on a Potential Future Disability?

This certainly sounds futuristic. (Pun intended.) Still, in a case just decided by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, EEOC v. STME, LLC, the EEOC espoused precisely this position.

Generalizations, Speculation and Stereotypes About Disabled Individuals Do Not Justify Refusal to Accommodate Use of Service Animals Under the ADA

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).

What’s New in 2019? A Look at the Ever-Changing Leave and Accommodation Law Landscape

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.

First Circuit Rules Inconsistent SSDI Statements Doom ADA Claim

In Pena v. Honeywell International, Inc., issued on July 22, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit denied a former employee’s petition for rehearing en banc of the court’s April 26, 2019, decision addressing whether her inconsistent statements on her Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits application and complaint precluded her from bringing a claim pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Ninth Circuit Dodges the Question of Whether Morbid Obesity is an “Impairment” Under the ADA; EEOC Says Yes

On August 20, 2019, the Ninth Circuit dodged answering the question of whether morbid obesity is a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In Valtierra v. Medtronic Inc., No. 17-15282, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the District Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant, but came short of joining the Second, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Circuits in explicitly holding that obesity cannot constitute a disability under applicable EEOC regulations unless there is evidence that the obesity is caused by an underlying physiological condition.

Is Morbid Obesity a Protected Disability? Ninth Circuit Weighs In But Doesn’t Answer the Question

Today’s post highlights one of many examples of cases employers should never have to spend tens of thousands of dollars litigating. In this case, Valtierra v. Medtronic, the plaintiff worked for Medtronic for 10 years and apparently was obese throughout his employment. Plaintiff, whose job was to maintain and repair Medtronic’s manufacturing equipment, admittedly falsified computer records to indicate that he had completed repair assignments when, in fact, he had not done the work. Medtronic fired him (duh). Unable to accept personal responsibility for his own misconduct, Plaintiff sued Medtronic, alleging that he was fired because of his purported disability – morbid obesity.

ADA Litigation Lessons Surfaced From a Zamboni Machine

Employers, you see this movie all too often. You tolerate, and then ultimately discharge, a poor-performing employee who displays a bad attitude. Unfortunately, supervisors have not documented the employee’s prior instances of insubordinate and adversarial behavior. In addition, he hurt himself on the job, filed a workers’ compensation claim, and presented medical restrictions. In his mind, he cannot believe that he was the problem. So he sues, alleging that you failed to accommodate his disability and unlawfully terminated his employment.

Does Asking About Employee’s Alcohol Use Violate the ADA?

In Lansdale v. UPS Supply Chain Solutions, Inc., No. 16-4106 (July 23, 2019), the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota concluded that a jury had sufficient evidence to find that an employer’s discharge of an employee for suspected corporate credit card abuse following an investigation in which the employee was asked about his alcohol use and drinking habits did not constitute disability discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or corresponding state law.

Employer’s Good Deed Goes Unpunished—Reliable Attendance Is Essential Function Despite Prior Accommodation of Employee’s Absences

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.
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