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12 Months of Additional ADA Leave Not Reasonable, Court Says

A federal appellate court recently ruled that an employee’s request for 12 months of additional medical leave was not reasonable, and thereby upheld the dismissal of her Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuit against her former employer. Employers can learn three important lessons from the May 2, 2017 decision.

Businesses Face Conflicting State and Federal Accessibility Requirements

Many states and localities have their own distinct accessibility laws and regulations for businesses. Often these are not analogous to the ADA.

Employer’s Enforcement of Its Call-In Policy Was Reasonable Vis-à-Vis a Disabled Employee

Employers frequently struggle with enforcement of call-in and job abandonment policies when there has been a lack of communication by a disabled employee. In Alejandro v. ST Micro Electronics (N.D. Cal.) 178 F.Supp.3d 850, the court offers a favorable ruling for employers seeking to enforce such a policy respective to a disabled employee who had been non-communicative about his whereabouts in violation of company policy.

8 Tips for Handling Mental Health Issues and ADA/FMLA Compliance

Most people easily recognize that a physical illness or disability may require a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act or time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act. But mental disabilities are covered by the ADA and FMLA, too.

Employee’s failure to actively engage in interactive process supports dismissal of ADA claim.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires both a disabled employee and her employer to work interactively to identify reasonable accommodations for the disabled employee. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has underscored that requirement by dismissing the claims of an individual who, it found, failed to engage fully in the interactive process. Brown v. Milwaukee Board of School Directors, No. 16-1971, 7th Circuit, May 4, 2017.

Mental Wellness: Good for the Prince, Good for Your Employees

When Prince Harry revealed in an interview that he had struggled with mental health issues, the topic of mental health in the workplace exploded. Major newspapers in England and the United States ran articles on mental health issues, services and their impact on the workplace. The hashtag #mentalhealth also trended on Twitter.

Reasonable Accommodation Tested by Principal

Is it reasonable for an Assistant Principal to return to her job if she has medical restrictions that prohibit her from interacting with potentially unruly students? The 7th Circuit examined this situation in Brown v. Milwaukee Bd. of Sch. Directors, which addresses “reasonable accommodations” under the ADA. Of course, the ADA requires employers to make “reasonable accommodations” that will allow a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of her job. So what is a reasonable accommodation? It depends on the company, the essential functions of the job, and the medical restrictions of the applicant or employee.

Employer Guidance on Mental Health Disorders

According to the National Alliance for Mental Illness, one in five US adults experiences mental illness in a given year. In a recent article authored by PL Matters contributor Dove A.E. Burns, the “prevalence of these disorders has a significant impact upon the workplace and upon employers and their accommodation policies and procedures.” The New York Law Journal article evaluates the EEOC’s publication titled “Depression, PTSD & Other Mental Health Conditions in the Workplace: Your Legal Rights.” The article also considers what the EEOC’s guidance means for employers navigating the ADA landscape.

“Goldilocks” Work Environment Not Required Under the ADA

Just over two decades ago, when the ADA was in its infancy and this blogger was a summer associate heading into his final year of law school, I attended a hearing in federal court where the judge was considering a motion to dismiss the ADA claims of a plaintiff-employee.

Fear Not: Employees’ Phobias May Not Relieve Them of Essential Job Duties

From agoraphobia to xenophobia, employers should be well aware that there is a long list of phobias—including more common disorders such as social anxiety disorder—that can be considered disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Recently, however, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a $1.8 million jury verdict and ruled that a drug store chain did not violate the ADA when it terminated a pharmacist who suffered from trypanophobia—a fear of needles. The case, Stevens v. Rite Aid Corporation, No. 15-277(L) (2nd Cir. Mar. 21, 2017), arose from Rite Aid’s 2011 decision to require all pharmacists to give immunization injections to customers.