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Showing Up to Work: Sixth Circuit Clarifies When Regular, In-Person Attendance Is Required Under the ADA

In Popeck v. Rawlings Company, LLC, No. 19-5092 (October 16, 2019), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for the Rawlings Company on Popeck’s claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), finding that regular, in-person attendance was an essential function of Popeck’s job as a claims auditor. The Sixth Circuit’s decision is noteworthy because it sheds light on how courts determine whether on-site attendance is required under the ADA.

Can an Employer Refuse to Hire an Employee Because of the Employee’s Risk of Developing a Disability?

The Seventh Circuit joins the Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Circuits in holding that such a refusal would not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. In Shell v. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company, No. 19-1030, the appellate court addressed the certified question “whether the ADA’s regarded-as provision encompasses conduct motivated by the likelihood that an employee will develop a future disability within the scope of the ADA.”

The SCOTUS Decides Not To Grant Certiorari in Robles v. Domino’s Pizza

The much-anticipated decision from the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) on Domino’s Pizza’s Petition for Certiorari is in. On October 7, 2019, the SCOTUS denied review of a decision from the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals in Robles v. Domino’s Pizza.

Employers Relax After Tennessee Court Rejects Anxious Employee's Failure to Accommodate Claim

Executive Summary: On Tuesday, October 22, 2019, a Tennessee federal judge rejected a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in which it claimed a nursing home failed to accommodate an employee with anxiety. Finding that the EEOC failed to show the employee’s anxiety qualified as a disability, this decision offers hope to employers faced with requests for accommodation where the employee claims generalized anxiety.

Regular, On-Site Attendance Is Essential Function of Auditor Job, Sixth Circuit Rules

he Sixth Circuit previously explained in Hostettler v. College of Wooster, 895 F.3d 844 (6th Cir. 2018) that regular, in-person attendance is not a per se essential function of every job. Rather, employers must tie time-and-presence requirements to the specific job at issue. In Popeck v. Rawlings Co., LLC, No. 19-5092 (6th Cir. Oct. 16, 2019), the Court ruled that Rawlings showed regular, on-site attendance was an essential function of Popeck’s auditor job, and Popeck was not a qualified individual under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) because she could not perform this essential function.

Federal Appeals Court Holds Test For Illegal Drugs Is Not An Impermissible Medical Examination, Even If Test May Reveal Lawful Drug Use

A federal appeals court upheld the termination of an employee who tested positive for amphetamines on a random drug test – despite his claim that the result was due to over-the-counter drug use – and rejected his arguments that the random drug test was an impermissible medical examination and that the Medical Review Officer’s questions constituted an impermissible disability-related inquiry. Turner v. Phillips 66 Co., Case No. 19-5030 (10th Cir. Oct. 16, 2019).

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.
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