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First Circuit Holds that Having an Employee Involuntarily Committed May Not Violate the ADA

All employers should care about their employees’ mental health – but when does this concern put an employer in territory that may violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? In López-López v. The Robinson School, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held that an employer’s driving an employee to a psychiatric facility and obtaining a court order to have her involuntarily evaluated, was not discrimination or retaliation under the ADA.

EEOC Updates COVID-19 Disability Accommodation Guidance to Address Higher-Risk Employees Returning to Work

Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued instructions, statements, and guidance to help employers navigate COVID-19’s workplace impact.

Serial ADA Plaintiff Declared Vexatious Litigant in Federal Court in California

On April 19, 2020, Judge James V. Selna of the United States District Court, Central District of California, granted a motion to declare pro se plaintiff Peter Strojnik, Sr. a vexatious litigant, requiring him to obtain the permission of the Court before filing any future accessibility lawsuits with the District Court. Federal courts by statute have the discretion to enjoin vexatious litigants.

Class Action Suit Claims ADA Requires Public Accommodation to Prevent Spread of COVID-19 at Facility

Despite significant legal obstacles, on May 4, 2020, a group of plaintiffs filed a class action complaint alleging the Queens Adult Care Center (QACC) violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (Title III) and its precursor, Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act (Section 504), by failing to provide a level of care to safeguard their health and safety at its assisted living facility during the COVID-19 pandemic.

EEOC Releases Guidance on Workplace Reasonable Accommodations in New COVID-19 World

In late-March and April 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released guidance addressing various questions with answers concerning COVID-19 and related workplace disability-related issues under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Risky Business: EEOC Interprets ADA Coverage for Individuals at Higher Risk of Contracting COVID-19

In a series of guidance issued since May 5, 2020 (some of which was withdrawn, revised, and reissued), the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) addressed protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for workers who are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, clarified when such individuals may be excluded from the workplace, and shared examples of accommodations that could reduce COVID-19 related risks to these employees.

Reopenings in COVID-19 Era and Employee Disability, Leave Litigation

The flurry of federal, state, and local laws hastily passed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have affected the workplace in ways employers have not seen before. Now, as employers seek to reopen their businesses, in-house counsel and Human Resources professionals tasked with navigating these uncharted waters should bear in mind which decisions could give rise to disability and leave litigation once the dust settles.

In Wave of Opinions, Court Rejects ADA Requirement for Braille Gift Cards

On Friday, April 23, 2020, Judge Gregory Woods of the Southern District of New York issued a first of its kind decision rejecting the argument that ADA Title III requires business that offer gift cards to also offer them in Braille. Dominguez v. Banana Republic, LLC, 1:19-cv-10171-GHW (S.D.N.Y. April 23, 2020).

EEOC Opines on COVID-19 Testing by Employers

In the past few weeks, the EEOC has updated its What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws on multiple occasions. The EEOC’s most recent update to this informal guidance provides an answer to the following question: “May an employer administer a COVID-19 test (a test to detect the presence of the COVID-19 virus) before permitting employees to enter the workplace?”

Federal Court Chooses Reliable Attendance and Rejects Suit Claiming ADA Requires Accommodation of Unpredictable and Unplanned Absences

Although much of the U.S. workforce is increasingly teleworking in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, when employers return to business as usual, handling employee absences and leaves will continue to be a challenging issue.
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