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Addressing Requests for Additional Time Off After a Leave of Absence: Walk in the Park, or Maze Without a Map?

Is additional time off after a leave of absence a “reasonable” accommodation? The answer is unclear, and usually is “It depends.” Federal courts recently have disagreed with each other on the issue, and the question has received continued and increasing attention after the EEOC’s 2016 Guidance on medical leaves under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Proposed Pepsi Center Consent Decree Requires Open Captioning at Games and Concerts

In a proposed consent decree submitted for preliminary approval to the federal district court in Denver on December 29, 2017, the owners and operators of the Pepsi Center arena in Denver reached an agreement with a proposed class of deaf and hard of hearing plaintiffs to provide open captioning of all aural (spoken or heard) content at games played and concerts held at the arena. Kurlander v. Kroenke Arena Company, LLC, U.S.D.C. D. Colo. Case No. 16-cv-02754-WYD-NYW.

Seventh Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment in Favor of Employer Finding That Required Mental-Health Examinations Did Not Violate the ADA

Executive Summary: Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Painter v. Illinois Department of Transportation affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the employer in a lawsuit alleging a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), finding that a reasonable jury would have to find that the two mental-health examinations at issue were “job related and consistent with business necessity.”

Extending Leave Was Not A Reasonable Accommodation Under The ADA Where There Was A Lack Of “Certainty” About Return To Work Date

While employers generally accept that they cannot apply a maximum leave period after which employees are automatically terminated, they continue to struggle with how much leave must be provided as a form of accommodation under the ADA. There is little dispute that leave for an indefinite period where the employee has a long term chronic condition is not a reasonable accommodation, but how much time must the employer give? Is a month of extended leave reasonable? Two months? Four months?

Seventh Circuit Holds that the ADA Is Still Not a Leave Statute

On October 17, 2017, on the heels of its landmark decision in Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, the Seventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of the employer in its unpublished opinion in Golden v. Indianapolis Housing Agency, No. 17-1359 (7th Cir. Oct. 17, 2017), reiterating that “[a]n employee who needs long-term medical leave…is not a ‘qualified individual’ under the ADA.”

Plaintiff Who Could Get to Work On Time By Waking Up An Hour Earlier Was Not Entitled An Accommodation Allowing Her to Be Late.

Years ago, I had a legal assistant who was unable to get to work on time. I finally told her that she had to be in at 8:30 as that was when everyone else started their work day. Three days later, she appeared in my office, walked in and slapped a speeding ticket on my desk and insisted that I pay it because it was my fault that she was speeding to get to work on time.

Extended Leave Is Not Reasonable Accommodation, 7th Circuit Rules

A long-term medical leave of absence after Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave has been exhausted cannot be a reasonable accommodation, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in a pair of pro-employer decisions. In Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc., the appellate court found that a medical leave spanning multiple months does not permit the employee to perform essential job functions, as required under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Bad Back? You’re Fired.

Employers rely upon employees to get the job done. Usually, the “job” requires the employee’s physical presence at work. But injuries and medical conditions throw a wrench in the works. Most employers are at least generally aware of the implications of various federal and state laws governing treatment of employees with medical conditions and injuries. Yet, there is plenty of gray area where employers may be subject to liability. Take for example the recent decision in Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc. where the Seventh Circuit decided whether an employer could terminate an employee who requested a multi-month leave of absence from employment.

Dear Littler: How Do You Address Employee Service Animal Accommodation Requests Under the ADA?

I read a New Yorker article about people bringing their dogs everywhere, claiming they were emotional support animals. It mentioned a dog trying to get into Carnegie Hall. But everyone knows there’s only one way to get there: Practice.

Federal Court Finds Telephonic Access Could Be an Alternative to Website Accessibility

A federal district court in Los Angeles last week endorsed the possibility that a business may be able to avoid making a website accessible if it provides the same goods and services through telephonic customer service. The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, in Gorecki v. Dave & Buster’s, Inc., No. 2:17-cv-01138-PSG-AGR (October 10, 2017), found that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) had mentioned this alternative to website compliance in its 2010 Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. But the court denied Dave & Buster’s motion for summary judgment because it had not established beyond factual dispute that its website direction, which stated, “If You Are Using A Screen Reader and Are Having Problems Using This Website, Please Call (888) 300-1515 For Assistance.,” was itself accessible to screen reading software.