Category Archives: ADA

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OMG! Panic over the Supreme Court’s decision on religious discrimination.

samanthaelaufThe U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on June 1, 2015, in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. (FEP Cases 157) has resulted in a deluge of case summaries and commentaries, and engendered some level of panic among employers, who believe that the case has created a seismic shift in hiring criteria. But has it, really? … Continue Reading

Getting with the (Wellness) Program: EEOC Proposes New ADA Regulations for Wellness Programs

Health OverhaulThis post was written by Ogletree Deakins attorneys, Jeanne E. Floyd (Of Counsel, Richmond Office), and Ruth Anne Collins Michels (Shareholder, Atlanta Office), and was published originally on the firm’s website on April 21, 2015. For some time, employers have faced uncertainty about the status of their wellness programs under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). While the … Continue Reading

EEOC has defined “ability to interact with others” as a major life activity, making social anxiety disorder a disability under the ADA.

social outsiderAn employee fired after asking to be reassigned to a role with less direct personal interaction as an accommodation for her “social anxiety disorder” is being allowed by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to take her case to a jury. Jacobs v. N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts, 4th Circ., No. 13-2212, March … Continue Reading

Supervisor’s alleged remark regarding sick child precludes dismissal of ADA associational claim.

Baby w-medical providerTo establish a claim of “associational discrimination” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a plaintiff must demonstrate that she was discriminated against by her employer because of her relationship with a disabled person. To substantiate a claim of associational discrimination under the ADA, an employee must establish each of the following key elements of … Continue Reading

Employee cannot claim lack of accommodation after quitting her job during the interactive process.

diabetesA diabetic employee who quit her job in response to the employer’s rejection of her suggested “reasonable accommodation” cannot support claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), because she failed to participate in the interactive process in good faith, according to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. EEOC v. Kohl’s Dep’t Stores, Inc., 1st … Continue Reading

Company’s work-from-home policy did not replace essential function of regular, predictable attendance.

workathome_introA policy allowing an individual to work from home does not vitiate the fact that punctuality and predictable attendance are essential functions of a position. According to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, an employee’s ongoing tardiness – although numerous modifications had been made to her schedule and workload to allow flexibility in light … Continue Reading

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

wheelchairJob 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 … Continue Reading

Policy regarding return-to-work medical release trumps employee’s ADA and FMLA claims.

back painOne of the questions most frequently asked by employers is whether an employee’s failure to comply with company policies regarding a return-to-work release can support termination of the individual’s employment. While courts differ on that issue depending upon judicial circuit and the specific facts of the case, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently … Continue Reading

Pregnant employee terminated because of upcoming lifting restrictions may have claim for “anticipatory discharge.”

boss firing pregnant empoyeeOne federal court – the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois - recently reviewed a case in which a pregnant employee was terminated after informing her employer that she would be subject to a lifting restriction beginning at the 20th week of her pregnancy. Although the employee was only in her 15th … Continue Reading

Congratulations! It’s a . . . pregnancy discrimination guidance.

What-to-Write-in-a-Baby-Shower-CardThe Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued its first comprehensive update of a 1983 Compliance Manual chapter on the subject of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) and related issues. The Guidance, which was not submitted for public comment prior to its issuance, also discusses the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as … Continue Reading

Employment Law Carnival – The A to Z List

Plate 2Law Partners Maria Danaher, Editor of Employment Law Matters, and Mary Wright, Guest Blogger (both of Ogletree Deakins), offer up this month’s Employment Law Carnival. Here is our A to Z list of legal pickings from around the ‘Net.   is for the ADA Eric B. Meyer, The Employer Handbook, The Firefighter Afraid of Fighting … Continue Reading

Don’t panic about your telecommuting policy . . . unless you’re in the Sixth Circuit.

A recent decision by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals seems to have sent many employers into a tailspin on whether and how often to allow employees to telecommute to fulfill job responsibilities. EEOC v. Ford Motor Company, 6th Cir., No. 12-2484, April 22, 2014.  (FindLaw.com link.) However, at this point, it is too … Continue Reading

Employee’s speculation related to basis of his firing is insufficient to support a claim of retaliation.

To prevail on a claim of retaliation under federal law, an employee must prove he or she engaged in a “protected activity” under an anti-discrimination statute, and subsequently suffered an adverse employment action. In addition, the employee must establish that the protected activity was “causally connected” to the employer’s adverse action. The 4th U.S. Circuit … Continue Reading

Interactive process is crucial element of analysis in disability discrimination cases.

Most employers recognize the fact that in addition to federal anti-discrimination laws, state and local laws – which often are more expansive – must be taken into account when making disciplinary and termination decisions related to protected individuals. In a case decided under New York state laws, that state’s highest court reversed summary judgment for … Continue Reading

EEOC challenges employer’s 12-month maximum medical leave policy.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied a motion filed by United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS) to dismiss a claim by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of a class of individuals challenging the company’s leave policy. The challenged policy requires that employees “be administratively separated” from employment after … Continue Reading

Pregnancy-related statements by managers help employee to avoid summary judgment on pregnancy discrimination claim.

In an unpublished opinion, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit reversed a lower court’s dismissal of a pregnancy discrimination claim, finding that an employer’s “no accommodation for non-work-related injuries” raised an issue of pregnancy discrimination for a jury. Latowski v. Northwoods Nursing Center, 6th Cir., No. 12-2408, December 23, 2013. Jennifer … Continue Reading

Participation in a rehabilitation program does not always trigger the ADA’s “safe harbor” provision for prior addictions.

Under the provisions of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as under many parallel state laws, individuals who successfully have completed a supervised drug rehabilitation program and who are no longer engaged in the illegal use of drugs are protected from employment discrimination. However, courts that have reviewed cases under this “safe harbor” … Continue Reading

Termination of employee for entering alcohol rehab after a last chance agreement not necessarily a violation of the ADA.

One of the questions asked most often by employers relates to whether the enforcement of a “last chance agreement” with an employee who is recovering from drug or alcohol addiction is a per se violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The 3d U.S. Circuit Court … Continue Reading

EEOC issues discussion points on permissible uses of “integrity testing.”

According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), “integrity testing” is a “specific type of personality test designed to assess an applicant’s tendency to be honest, trustworthy, and dependable.” Employers often associate a lack of integrity with counterproductive workplace behaviors, including theft and workplace violence. Problems can arise when an integrity test includes questions … Continue Reading

Jury awards damages to employee forced to care for teenaged son suffering from cancer.

In addition to protecting qualified applicants and employees with disabilities from employment discrimination, one provision of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – the "association" provision - protects applicants and employees from discrimination based on their relationship or association with an individual with a disability, whether or not the applicant or employee has a disability. … Continue Reading

Employee’s failure to return from FMLA leave in a timely manner supports summary judgment for employer under the ADA.

In an unpublished opinion issued on October 8, 2013, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld summary judgment in favor of an employer on a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The interesting – and somewhat unexpected – basis of the decision was the fact that the plaintiff/employee’s termination was based upon … Continue Reading

The OFCCP’s “7% Solution” becomes effective.

According to its own website, the primary responsibility of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), is to: “enforce, for the benefit of job seekers and wage earners, the contractual promise of affirmative action and equal employment opportunity required of those who do business with the Federal government.”  In furtherance … Continue Reading

Reasonable accommodation sought by disabled employee must enable employee to perform ‘essential functions’ of original job.

In an unpublished opinion, the6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has held that an employee who was unable to complete the functions of her job while on part-time duty could not subsequently claim that ongoing part-time work was a reasonable accommodation for her disability. White v. Security First Associated Agency, Inc.,et al, 6th Cir., No. … Continue Reading

Written job description did not sufficiently indicate the essential nature of night shift in emergency dispatcher position.

One federal district court has ruled that a night-shift emergency dispatcher with diabetes and hypertension, whose doctor stated that the individual’s health would be improved by working day-shifts, could proceed on his claim that an employer’s refusal to allow him to work days violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Szarawara v. County of Montgomery, … Continue Reading
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