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Court Dismisses ADA Claims Alleging “Excessive” Drug and Alcohol Testing

A federal court in New York dismissed a disability discrimination claim asserted under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) based on allegedly “excessive” drug and alcohol testing of employees after they failed drug or alcohol tests required under the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)’s regulations. Vuono, et al. v. Consolidated Edison of New York, Inc., Case No. 1:18-cv-016365-VEC (S.D.N.Y. June 11, 2019).

Seventh Circuit Holds Obesity is not ADA Impairment Absent Underlying Physiological Cause

On June 12, 2019, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling in the case of Richardson v. Chicago Transit Authority, which was the appeal of a dismissal of the case after the lower court found that obesity is not an impairment under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) absent an underlying physiological cause. An issue of first impression in the Seventh Circuit (the federal appeals court with jurisdiction over Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin), the court agreed with prior decisions in the Second, Sixth, and Eighth Circuits, and upheld the dismissal. The Seventh Circuit held that obesity is not an ADA impairment unless there is evidence of an underlying physiological cause. It also held that CTA did not perceive the plaintiff, a 596-pound bus driver, to be disabled when it terminated him due to safety issues.

Obesity ? Protected Class

Making fun of a co-worker’s weight may be rude, but is it illegal? A New Jersey court recently addressed claims of disability discrimination and hostile work environment by an employee complaining of comments made by co-workers about his weight.

Federal Court Allows Class Action Website Disability Access Case to Proceed Against An Employer

While we continue to wait for guidance from the government on website accessibility standards, plaintiffs continue to challenge the accessibility of company websites. For years, individuals have brought lawsuits claiming that their access to goods and services is limited under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities (“ADA”). More recently we have seen individuals challenge their access to employment under Title I of the ADA due to online application processes that they claim are not accessible.

Employers Must Consider Accommodating Workers' Religious Objections to Flu Vaccination

Executive Summary: Recent actions by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) emphasize employers’ obligations under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to accommodate workers’ religious objections to receiving a flu vaccination. For example, a Middle Tennessee hospital has agreed to pay $75,000 and perform other non-monetary actions to settle an EEOC lawsuit claiming it violated Title VII by failing to accommodate a worker’s sincerely held religious beliefs against receiving an annual flu vaccination.

No Room At The Inn: Hotel Reservation Systems Attacked Under The ADA

For years, we have seen a wave of Americans with Disabilities Act Title III public accommodation cases. The first wave involved places of public accommodation being sued for failure to have structural accessibility such as an elevator, a ramp, etc. for disabled patrons. The next wave (which is still occurring and evolving) is less tangible – whether a website is sufficiently accessible for the visually or hearing impaired.

The ADA, Occupational Injuries and Light Duty

It is not uncommon for employees who are on leave and receiving workers’ compensation benefits to be released to return to work with light duty restrictions. To account for these situations, some employers have designated light duty positions reserved for employees who are released to return to work on light duty after an occupational injury.

Older Applicants Cannot Utilize ADEA to Challenge Neutral Hiring Criteria, Seventh Circuit Rules

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act does not permit non-employees to bring claims under a disparate impact theory, the Seventh Circuit has ruled. Kleber v. CareFusion Corp. (7th Cir. Jan. 23, 2019). Accordingly, in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, job applicants will not be able to challenge hiring decisions that are neutral, but which disproportionately exclude job applicants over 40.

School Board Not Liable for Disciplining Disabled Educator's Excessive Absenteeism or Denying Her Leave Requests

Since Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990 and state legislatures enacted their own protections requiring employers to accommodate disabled workers, courts have grappled with the reasonableness of accommodating an employee’s excessive absenteeism caused by a disability. In Barbabosa v. Board of Education of the Town of Manchester, the Connecticut Appellate Court faced that question, holding on April 23, 2019, that attendance was an essential function of Barbabosa’s job and, therefore, her employer was not liable for either disciplining her for excessive absenteeism or denying her requests for extended intermittent leave.

Being on Call 24/7 an Essential Job Function Under ADA, 5th Circuit Rules

The ability to be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week was an essential job function under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for a law enforcement cadet, a federal appellate court has ruled.