Category Archives: ADA

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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

Operating room nurse prohibited from working after drug rehab cannot support ADA failure to hire claim.

In a case that points out the inherent difficulty of implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in a situation involving safety issues, a federal district court in Connecticut determined that an operating room nurse was not qualified for protection under the ADA because he was weeks away from the end of a year-long prohibition … Continue Reading

Employer’s judgment about what constitutes an essential job function carries substantial weight.

Is the ability to be licensed to drive a commercial vehicle an “essential function” of a warehouse manager’s position, even though that manager rarely is required to drive? According to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, that answer depends largely upon the job description developed by the employer, and not on the employee’s specific … Continue Reading

Dishonest response on an initial application can come back to haunt an employee.

In a non-precedential opinion, the 3d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld a hospital’s firing of a security guard who had admitted that he was a recovering drug addict. Because that firing was based upon the fact that the employee previously had denied prior drug or alcohol addition/treatment, the court found that the hospital’s … Continue Reading

8th Circuit upholds jury’s decision that if employee is prohibited by his doctor from engaging in the essential functions of his job, no accommodation is necessary.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that jury was justified in finding that an employer is not required to engage in an onsite evaluation to interactively create a reasonable accommodation for a disabled employee, if a treating physician’s restrictions would prevent that individual from performing those essential functions at all. Hohn v. … Continue Reading

“Reasonable accommodation” may include adjustments to work schedule, even beyond an agreed-upon flex-time schedule.

Employers are aware of the fact that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires them to engage in an interactive process in order to determine whether a disabled individual can be accommodated to assist him or her in performing the essential functions of a job. In determining the essential functions of a position, most employers … Continue Reading

Employer has no obligation to provide “light duty” assignment under FMLA or ADA.

The use of light duty assignments to employees who are returning to work after recuperation from an illness or injury is an often used mechanism. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has held that neither the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) nor the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) creates an obligation for an … Continue Reading
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