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Washington Public Employer Hit with $1.8 Million Judgment for Failing to Accommodate Prescription Drug User

Last month, a Washington federal district court judge ordered an employer to pay a terminated employee a little over $1.8 million in damages for failing to accommodate the employee’s use of opioids that had been prescribed to treat her migraines, and for terminating her for a positive drug test result.1 Although employers typically have a right to implement and enforce clear drug-testing policies so as to maintain a safe and productive work environment, the decision underscores the importance of engaging in an interactive process with job applicants and employees and providing reasonable accommodations to those taking prescription drugs for medical conditions.

Will Employers Be Forced to Accommodate Employees Who Test Positive for Marijuana?

On July 17, 2017 the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that under the Massachusetts Anti-Discrimination law an employer may be required to accommodate an employee who is a current user of medical marijuana regardless of the employer’s drug free workplace and drug testing policies. While this decision is binding only in Massachusetts, it could represent the beginning of a significant shift in how employers will need to deal with employees using marijuana to treat a disability.

Wild Kingdom: ADA and Service Animals

What do a parrot named “Sadie," a Shih Tzu/poodle mix named “Jazz,” and a miniature horse have in common? SC Lawyer called on Nexsen Pruet employment and labor law attorney William Floyd to answer this question.

That Stinks! EEOC Sues on Behalf of Employee Denied Relief from Workplace Smells

On July 12, 2017, the EEOC filed suit in the Middle District of North Carolina alleging that an employer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by refusing a request to telecommute from an employee with a sensitivity to workplace smells.

The ADA and the Internet

Most employers and business owners are generally aware of the requirements set forth by the ADA to accommodate accessibility to buildings and facilities by individuals with disabilities.

Groundbreaking Trial Ends with Ruling that Grocery Store Must Make its Website ADA Accessible

In a first, a federal court in Florida ruled recently that a grocery store must make its website accessible to the disabled. The plaintiff in the case, a blind man who uses screen-reading technology to access and view websites, obtained injunctive relief, as well as his attorneys’ fees and costs.

Federal Court Holds First Trial on Website Accessibility Under the ADA

A federal judge has found in Gil v. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., (S.D.Fla. No. 16-23020-Civ-Scola) that a corporation violated Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) because its website was inaccessible to individuals with vision-related disabilities. The opinion, verdict and order followed the first federal trial on the issue of website accessibility. Employers that are owners of places of public accommodation should take note of the decision and consider meeting the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0 AA) in order to mitigate potential risks.

The Continuing Stream of Website Accessibility Claims: A Trial Victory for a Plaintiff and a Dismissal for a Company

Over the past 18 months, the number of claims being filed over website accessibility has increased dramatically.1 Although courts continue to differ as to whether websites are places of public accommodation covered by Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), and if so, whether all websites are covered or whether there must be a nexus between a physical location and a website for the website to be a place of public accommodation, litigation over website accessibility continues to proliferate. In recent months, there have been two notable district court opinions in this area.

Interviewing an Individual with a Visible Disability: From the Employer’s Perspective

In a recent Q&A on the “Ask a Manager” blog, an individual wrote in to say that she had a genetic disorder requiring the use of a cane for walking and ring braces for finger stability. Although she had been public about her condition with friends and family, both in person and through social media, she was concerned that a job interviewer might view her ring braces as a form of costume jewelry inappropriate for an interview setting and, presumably, hold that against her. She did not believe that removing the ring braces for the interview was the best approach, both because they would be necessary in the performance of the job(s) for which she would be applying and because she felt that doing so “erased” her disability when she otherwise had embraced it as part of her life.

Casino Employee’s ADA Claims Dismissed Due to Current Drug Use

A federal court in Nevada dismissed a casino employee’s American with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) claims — even though he had been treated for substance abuse in the past — because he admitted to current drug use which is not protected under the ADA. Scott v. Harrah’s LLC, No. 2:17-cv-01066-APG-VCF (D. Nev. May 9, 2017).