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Employers Can Now Apply Online to Employ Workers With Disabilities at Subminimum Wages

Employers can now apply online for permission to employ workers with disabilities at subminimum wages instead of mailing in a paper application.

Employers Asserting “Essential Job Function” Defense Need a Clear Job Description.

Just a few months ago, we wrote about a case where a federal district court denied summary judgment to an employer who had asserted that attendance at work was an essential job function. The Court held that although regular attendance at work was set out in the job description, that was not enough to obtain summary judgment. In a slight twist, today we discuss a case in which the court focused on the adequacy of the job description itself and found it lacking. For that reason and others, it denied the employer’s motion for summary judgment.

No Adverse Employment Action, No Failure-to-Accommodate Claim, Tenth Circuit Rules

The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) includes within its definition of “discriminate,” an employer’s failure to provide a reasonable accommodation to a qualified individual with a disability. But, is a failure to accommodate standing alone—absent an adverse employment action—enough to establish an ADA failure-to-accommodate claim? For example, if an employer fails to accommodate a wheelchair-bound employee by refusing to move her office a few feet closer to the entrance, has the employer violated the ADA? In this scenario, assuming the facts show that traveling the extra distance is just a mere inconvenience, the answer likely depends on whether an adverse employment action is a required element of a failure-to-accommodate claim.

eLABORate: Navigating the Murky Waters of Accommodations of Pregnancy-Related Limitations

There has been increasing media coverage regarding the extent of an employer’s obligation to accommodate pregnancy-related limitations that fall outside the scope of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). While the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) does not require employers to provide accommodations to employees due to pregnancy or pregnancy-related limitations, it creates a potential trap for the unwary in which employers may be liable for pregnancy discrimination if they fail to provide certain accommodations in connection with pregnancy or pregnancy-related limitations.

DOJ’s Recent Website Accessibility Letter Reaffirms Obligations While Opening the Door to a Due Process Defense

The Department of Justice has finally broken its long silence on website accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the news is both good and bad. The bad: the Department rejected calls from the business community by reaffirming its position under the Obama administration that websites of businesses open to the public must be accessible to persons with disabilities. The good: public accommodations need not conform to any particular standard to meet obligations under the ADA.

Plaintiff Lacks Standing to Claim Website Violates ADA Where It Does Not Impede Ability to Access Physical Location of the Business

With the rise in lawsuits under Title III of the ADA regarding accessibility of websites, Courts have been framing how such claims fit into the law’s requirements for accessibility at places of public accommodation. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida recently provided additional clarification in Gomez v. Knife Management, LLC (S.D. Fla. Sep. 14, 2018).

“Need To Know Basis” – A Good Rule Of Thumb Under The ADA

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), employers have certain obligations regarding the non-disclosure of employee medical information and disabilities. For instance, under the ADA, information an employer obtains regarding an employee’s medical condition must be collected on separate forms, kept in medical files, and treated as a confidential medical record. In fact, it should be kept entirely separate from the rest of the personnel file.

Court Finds Standing Requirement for ADA Title III Claim Requires Plaintiff To Have “Concrete and Realistic” Plan to Return to the Hotel

A recent Middle District of Florida decision granted the Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s claims for relief under Title III of the ADA based on Plaintiff’s lack of standing to bring such claims. In Kennedy v. Cape Siesta Motel (MD FL Oct 4, 2018) the Plaintiff claims she encountered architectural barriers upon her visit to a motel in Brevard County, Florida. The Plaintiff lives about 175 miles from the motel but has a second home about 79 miles from the motel which she visits two to three times a month.

KFC Franchisee Pays $30,000 For Disability Discrimination Claim But It Could Have Been Worse!

A KFC Franchisee in Dublin, Georgia recently settled a disability discrimination case with a former manager who had bipolar disorder for $30,000. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), the federal watch dog for anti-discrimination employment laws, the owner/operator found out the store manager was taking prescription medicine for her bipolar disorder. He then made her flush her medicine down the restaurant toilet. The store manager later told the owner she was going to continue taking the medication per her doctor’s orders, and the owner fired her. The store manager asserted a disability discrimination claim and the franchisee settled for $30,000.

Another Court Decides That Extended Leave is Not a Reasonable Accommodation

As employers struggle with managing how much, if any, leave is required as an accommodation under the ADA, we are beginning to get more direction from the Courts to guide those decisions. In Easter v. Arkansas Children’s Hospital (E.D. Ark. Oct. 3, 2018) an employee was unable to work after exhausting her FMLA leave but she had an appointment to be evaluated by a specialist less than a month later. The employer denied the additional leave and terminated her employment. The Court held there was no violation of the ADA.