Archives: ADA

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High School Teacher is Determined to not be Disabled After She Accepts Another Teaching Position

Sharon Walker (“Walker”), a high school business teacher, brought suit against the Pulaski County Special School District (“PCSSD”) claiming that she had been discriminated against and retaliated against because of her disability in violation of the American with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). PCSSD filed a motion for summary judgment, and on May 1, 2017, it was … Continue Reading

When Is Reassignment to an Intermittent Position Required as an ADA Accommodation?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) generally requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to disabled employees so that they can perform the essential duties of their jobs. This is not news. But what if no feasible accommodation can be identified in an employee’s existing position? Employers are often uncertain about whether they must offer reassignment to … Continue Reading

Restraining Unruly Children as an Essential Job Element: Expected in Secondary Schools but Not at a Youth Detention Center? A Cautionary Tale in the ADA Reasonable Accommodation Arena

In a recent blog post, I discussed the fact that under the reasonable accommodation provisions of the ADA, employers generally are not required to provide their employees with a stress-free work environment or one that possesses a “just right” amount of stress, which I referred to as a Goldilocks work environment (Read More). But what … Continue Reading

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.  For instance, businesses operating in New York must use the disability access symbol designated by the state, but the U.S. Access Board (which sets standards of accessibility for federal agencies and drafts the … Continue Reading

Oklahoma Case Serves as Reminder that Pregnancy Alone, Without More, Is Not an ADA Disability

A former employee’s claim that she was pregnant and subject to lifting restrictions failed to allege a valid claim under the Americas with Disabilities Act (ADA), according to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma. LaCount v. South Lewis SH OPCO, LLC, Case No. 16-CV-0545-CVE-TLW (N.D. Okla. May 5, 2017). When the … Continue Reading

What Should I Tell Employees on Leave About Their FMLA Usage? Everything!

When it comes to FMLA leave administration, “don’t sweat the details” is rarely a wise axiom.  Details matter.  A lot.  A recent decision by an Illinois federal court reinforces that lesson.  In March 2015, Amanda Dusik contacted her employer, Lutheran Child and Family Services (LCFS), to request time off for knee surgery.  She explained that, … Continue Reading

EEOC and Orion Energy Systems, Inc. Settle Wellness Case

On April 5, 2017 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it had reached a settlement with Orion Energy Systems, Inc. (Orion) relating to the EEOC’s claims that Orion’s wellness program violated the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) because participation was involuntary, and that Orion retaliated against an employee who objected to the program. … Continue Reading

House Legislation Seeks to Harmonize Wellness Programs with ADA and GINA

On March 2, 2017, in an attempt to clear the murky waters surrounding wellness programs, Rep. Virginia Foxx, chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, introduced the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act (the “Act’) (H.R. 1313). In an effort to protect wellness plans, the Act reaffirms existing law which permits employee wellness … Continue Reading

Court Labels Employer Post-Offer Medical Examination “Textbook Case” of ADA Regarded As Liability

When used lawfully, post-offer, pre-employment medical examinations can be a powerful tool. But a recent federal district court case demonstrates the importance of carefully implementing such programs.  In EEOC v. M.G.H. Family Health Center, Cause No. 1:15-CV-952 (E.D. Mich. 1/27/2017 ), the employer hired an employee and asked her to participate in a medical examination.  Although … Continue Reading

Breaks and Flexible Hours Not a Reasonable ADA Accommodation for Frequently Absent Employee, Court Holds

Employers can easily feel overwhelmed when it comes to enforcing employee attendance standards while providing reasonable accommodation to employees with chronic health conditions. Increasingly, however, court decisions such as Williams v. AT&T Mobility Services LLC are providing much-needed guidance regarding the scope of an employer’s duty to accommodate. The Williams case illustrates how carefully-designed policies, frequent communication, … Continue Reading

Employer Comes Up Smelling Like Roses in Reasonable Accommodation Case: Court Reminds Employee That She Can’t Always Get What She Wants

An employer’s failure to provide a fragrance-free work environment does not equate to a failure to provide a reasonable accommodation or an adverse action against an employee, according to the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Alanis v. Metra.   In fact, this case reiterates that employers are not required to provide every accommodation requested … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Says “Last Call” for Employee Terminated After Caught Drinking While on FMLA “Bed Rest”

On January 31, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit joined the Seventh, Eighth and Tenth Circuits in holding that an employer’s honest belief that its employee was misusing FMLA leave is enough to defeat an FMLA retaliation claim. The court’s opinion in Capps v. Mondelez Global, LLC also serves as … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Nominee Has Put “Reasonable” into Reasonable Accommodation Obligations

In case your news and twitter accounts are down, and you otherwise have not heard the news…   President Trump has nominated Judge Gorsuch from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s vacant Supreme Court seat.  There are surely countless articles about his nomination hitting the airwaves even as … Continue Reading

Disability and Leave Law Under President Trump: What’s Next?

Since Election Day, prognosticators and pundits have been speculating about how the Trump Administration’s actions will impact existing laws and regulations. Now that President Trump and his team have hit the ground running, what can we expect from the Department of Labor (including OFCCP), the EEOC and the President’s own executive actions in the areas … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Delivers Blow to EEOC Wellness Program Challenge, But Avoids Ruling on ADA Safe Harbor

On January 25, 2017, in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Flambeau, Inc., the Seventh Circuit rejected an EEOC challenge to an employer wellness program.  The circuit court had the opportunity to address whether an employer’s wellness program was an involuntary medical examination pursuant to the ADA, 42 U.S.C. 12112(d)(4), but instead found the issues of … Continue Reading

Employee’s “Alternative Facts” Can’t Overcome Summary Judgment for Employer

As the week begins with new lexicon coming out of our nation’s capital, a recent federal court of appeals ruling reminds us that, in most situations, it’s the employer’s assessment of the facts, not the employee’s “alternative facts,” that matter when deciding the appropriate punishment for employee performance or misconduct issues.  And, perhaps more importantly, … Continue Reading

AARP Suffers a Setback in its Challenge to the EEOC’s Wellness Regulations

As previously discussed, AARP has filed suit against the EEOC and challenged the agency’s wellness regulations.  See http://www.disabilityleavelaw.com/2016/10/articles/ada/the-eeocs-2016-wellness-program-regulations-the-saga-continues/  On December 29, 2016, this challenge suffered a setback.  In the December 29, 2016 Memorandum Opinion, U.S. District Judge John D. Bates denied AARP’s request for preliminary injunction and held that the regulations would take effect on January … Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit Leaves Open the Question of Whether a “Mixed-Motive” or “But-For” Causation Standard Should be Applied to Disability Discrimination Claims Under the ADA

On December 22, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued an opinion in the case of Oehmke v. Medtronic, Inc., Case No. 16-1052, affirming the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant/employer on plaintiff’s claims of disability discrimination and retaliation under the Americans with Disabilities Act … Continue Reading

Appellate Court Holds that ADA Does Not Require Reassignment Without Competition

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) suffered a setback in its attempt to establish that the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requires an employer to reassign an employee to an available position without having to compete with other candidates for that position.  In EEOC v. St. Joseph’s Hospital, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals held … Continue Reading

EEOC Issues Guidance on the Rights of Employees with Mental Health Conditions Under the ADA

In continuation of its series of “resource” documents which provide guidance to individuals with medical conditions or work restrictions, on December 12, 2016, the EEOC issued a “resource” document titled “Depression, PTSD, and Other Mental Health Conditions in the Workplace: Your Legal Rights” which is intended to provide guidance on workplace rights for individuals with … Continue Reading

Employee Seeking a Less Stressful Work Environment Denied ADA Protections

In a case addressing a challenging accommodation scenario faced by many employers, a Florida District Court held in Hargett v. Florida Atlantic University Board of Trustees that an employee seeking a less stressful environment and an end to hostile confrontations with her manager was not seeking a reasonable accommodation.  The employee suffered from epilepsy  with seizures … Continue Reading
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