join our network! affiliate login  
Custom Search
GET OUR FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTERS!
Daily and Weekly Editions • Articles • Alerts • Expert Advice • Learn More

Disability Access Litigation on the Rise

In an article published recently in The Wall Street Journal (“Disability Lawsuits Against Small Businesses Soar,” October 15, 2014), staff writer Angus Loten reported that accessibility lawsuits brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) against public accommodations increased by nearly 55 percent in the first six months of 2014 as compared to the number of filings in the same period in 2013. This increase follows a reported 9 percent increase in disability access lawsuits from 2012 to 2013. The article also reported that many of the lawsuits were brought in California, New York, and Florida.

BREAKING: EEOC seeks court order to halt Honeywell’s biometric testing

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a petition yesterday in federal court in Minnesota to stop Honeywell International, Inc., from requiring that employees (and spouses, if the employees have family health insurance coverage) either get biometric testing, or face the loss of employer contributions to Health Savings Accounts and incur other charges.

Employer must consider job restructuring if such restructuring would accommodate disabled employee without undue hardship.

Job restructuring is one of the accommodations that an employer must consider under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its regulations. Recently, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that if a minor adjustment to the work duties of a few other nursing home employees would have enabled the home’s hairdresser to perform the duty of pushing her customers’ wheelchairs to hairdressing appointments despite her disability, the nursing home’s refusal to consider making that adjustment was unlawful. Kaufmann v. Petersen Health Care VII, LLC, 7th Cir., 2014, No. 13-3661 (October 16, 2014).

Sugar Bear Unleashed: Employee with Emotional Disabilities May Be Entitled to Bring Comfort Animal to Work

A federal district court in Hawaii has ruled that the branch manager of a rental car company may have been discriminated against on the basis of his depression and adjustment disorder disabilities when he was terminated for an angry outburst directed at a subordinate after having been warned about similar misconduct on past occasions. Assaturian v. Hertz Corp. The final incident occurred about four months after the manager was told by his employer that he could no longer bring “Sugar Bear,” a Shih Tzu, to work with him unless he provided medical documentation establishing his need to do so. According to the manager, "Sugar Bear" was a licensed service animal that helped him control his emotions and reduce his stress. The manager had not complied with his employer's request for documentation by the time of the incident that led to his termination, but claimed during discovery in the lawsuit that he had not had sufficient opportunity to do so. According to the managers' co-workers, the dog was not leashed and regularly urinated on the floor.

BREAKING: 6th Circuit will rehear Ford telecommuting/reasonable accommodation case

Law 360 reports this morning that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has agreed to rehear the EEOC v. Ford Motor Co. case, which I reported on (and disagreed with) in April. The original decision, holding that Ford should have allowed an employee with severe and unpredictable irritable bowel syndrome to telecommute as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, was issued by a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit.

Sexy ADA issue: Bad breakup may not justify employer-mandated medical exam

Rarely does one get a case that involves a cutting-edge Americans with Disabilities Act issue combined with wild, crazy, passionate, irrationally exuberant, tempestuous, adulterous romance. Well, folks, today is your lucky day.

No Coverage for the Cantankerous? The Ninth Circuit Goes "Retro" In Finding "No Disability"

In Weaving v. City of Hillsboro,1 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit waxed nostalgic by reversing a jury and lower court finding that a police officer with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) had a “disability” within the meaning of the 2008 amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Ninth Circuit held that the former officer was not disabled, because his ADHD – and associated abrasive behavior toward colleagues – did not substantially limit him in the major life activities of working or interacting with others. Before the amendments to the ADA, this decision might not have been noteworthy. Given the far more expansive interpretation of “disability” under the 2008 ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA), however, the Weaving case assumes the aura of a “Man Bites Dog” story by resisting the tendency of courts to err on the side of finding threshold protection under the ADAAA.

No Coverage for the Cantankerous? The Ninth Circuit Goes "Retro" In Finding "No Disability"

In Weaving v. City of Hillsboro,1 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit waxed nostalgic by reversing a jury and lower court finding that a police officer with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) had a “disability” within the meaning of the 2008 amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Ninth Circuit held that the former officer was not disabled, because his ADHD – and associated abrasive behavior toward colleagues – did not substantially limit him in the major life activities of working or interacting with others. Before the amendments to the ADA, this decision might not have been noteworthy. Given the far more expansive interpretation of “disability” under the 2008 ADA Amendmendts Act (ADAAA), however, the Weaving case assumes the aura of a “Man Bites Dog” story by resisting the tendency of courts to err on the side of finding threshold protection under the ADAAA.

How The ADA Impacts Your Hiring

Most employers understand their fundamental obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to protect against disability discrimination and to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified disabled employees, enabling them to perform essential functions of their jobs. But these obligations continue to confuse employers in practice, especially when it comes to hiring.

Healthcare Update: Work A Full Eight Hours? That's Not In My Job Description!

According to the EEOC, healthcare employers are disproportionately represented in the ranks of those sued for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Baptist Health South Florida, Inc. recently became one of those unlucky healthcare providers when the EEOC sued it for failure to accommodate a physician.