Tag Archives: ADA

New Mexico Court Rules Employee Is Entitled To Nationwide Discovery in FMLA Case

On October 10, 2017, Judge Ritter issued the Memorandum Opinion and Order which granted a former employee’s Motion to Compel and held that the former employee was entitled to information from the company’s nationwide offices relating to other employees fired under the company’s 100% healed policy and other FMLA or ADA complaints. Matthew Donlin (“Donlin”) worked as a general manager … Continue Reading

ADA Compliance Challenges: Navigating the Over-accommodation Conundrum

Make no mistake about it: ADA compliance can be challenging.  This is especially true when it comes to providing reasonable accommodation.  Not uncommonly, managers wanting to do the right thing actually provide more than the law requires.  Although well-intentioned, this practice often leads to conflict if more generous accommodations are later scaled back. Thankfully, a recent … Continue Reading

Who’s Responsible for Providing Disability-Related Workplace Accommodations to Temporary Employees?

Many businesses use temporary workers placed by staffing agencies. But who is responsible when a temporary worker requests a disability accommodation?  The staffing agency and the business could both be responsible if they are acting as “joint employers” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Staffing agencies commonly “employ” temporary workers: hire the workers, pay wages, provide any benefits, … 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

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

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

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

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

Court Again Approves Safety-Based Medical Examination without Individualized Assessment

Does an employer violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if it requires an entire class of employees to undergo a medical examination without assessing each class member’s individual characteristics? Filling a relative void in case law, the Eighth Circuit recently said no – at least where the employer has credible safety concerns and seeks … Continue Reading

The EEOC Settles its “Direct Threat” Lawsuit Against Georgia Power Co. for $1.6 Million

According to the Consent Decree filed on November 15, 2016, Georgia Power Company (“Georgia Power”) has agreed to pay $1.6 million and to revise its seizure and drug and alcohol policies in order to settle the lawsuit brought by the EEOC which claimed that the utility company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) when … Continue Reading

EEOC Explains ADA Interference – Employers Take Note

On August 25, 2016, the EEOC issued its Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues. In addition to outlining expanded definitions of “opposition” and “participation” activity with respect to retaliation claims, the EEOC also addressed section 503(b) of the ADA.  Section 503(b) makes it unlawful to “coerce, intimidate, threaten or interfere” with an individual who … Continue Reading

Finding the “Implicit” Accommodation Request

It is common gospel that when a qualified disabled employee requests accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), both employer and employee must engage in an interactive dialogue to discuss the options.  But what happens when an employee merely identifies a disability but never asks to be accommodated?  In a recent decision, a sharply divided … Continue Reading

What is a Disability? The DOJ’s Final ADAAA Rule is Here.

Today, after a two year wait, the Department of Justice will publish its final rule amending the ADA regulations to incorporate the 2008 statutory changes set forth in the ADAAA, which took effect on January 1, 2009. The ADAAA, signed into law by President George W. Bush, was Congress’s response to multiple Supreme Court decisions they … Continue Reading

Fear of Firing May Be ADA Disability

Denying a school district summary judgment on the plaintiff’s ADA claim, a court held that plaintiff’s anxiety and depression, “likely stemming from her concerns about possibly getting fired,” may be a disability under the ADA. Huiner v. Arlington School District, (D.SD, Sept. 26, 2013). The plaintiff, a teacher, had been placed on a performance improvement … Continue Reading

A Déjà Vu Moment On Reasonable Accommodation

As I read and re-read the OFCCP’s14 points of guidance to employers interested in establishing a “best practice” reasonable accommodation program, Appendix B to the Section 503 regulations   issued in August, I had a déjà vu moment. I kept thinking that I had previously read something remarkably similar to the 14 points. It finally came … Continue Reading

Waiting for EEOC Guidance on Wellness Plans …and Godot

Earlier this year, we posted that we continued to wait for ADA “voluntary” wellness plan guidance from the EEOC. In a January 18, 2013 informal letter responding to an inquiry concerning a wellness program, the EEOC reiterated its 2000 Guidance that it “has not taken a position on whether and to what extent a reward … Continue Reading

Iowa Debates Gun Permits for Blind Individuals

A 2011 amendment to Iowa’s gun control law requires a sheriff to issue a permit to carry a gun to an applicant unless the applicant is disqualified for any of six enumerated reasons.  None of these disqualifies an applicant who is unable to see. One Iowa county has issued weapons permits to individuals “who can’t … Continue Reading

ADA Accommodation Request Need Not Relate to Essential Job Functions

A request for a reserved, on-site, free parking space is a request for an accommodation under the ADA even though it does not relate to the performance of essential job functions, according to a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Feist v. State of Louisiana, (5th Cir. Sept. 16, … Continue Reading

The ADA Conundrum from Cleveland: Analyzing an Employee’s Inconsistent Statements About the Ability to Work

In Cleveland v. Policy Management Systems Corp., the United States Supreme Court created a framework for analyzing how inconsistent statements on applications for disability benefits concerning a plaintiff’s ability to work affect an ADA claim.The analysis focuses on whether the plaintiff’s statements “genuinely conflicted with her ADA claim” and if so, whether the plaintiff has … Continue Reading

Does a Rule Prohibiting Employees with Discipline From Transferring Violate the ADA?

Must an employer bend its rule prohibiting an employee with discipline from transferring to another position as a reasonable accommodation if the request to transfer is due to a disability?  We posted recently about a case where an employer denied an employee’s request to telecommute or relocate his office for a medical reason because he … Continue Reading

No ADA or FMLA Claim for Employee Who Twice Failed to Complete Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program

An employee who twice failed to complete a substance abuse treatment program was not protected by either the ADA or FMLA, according to the Fifth Circuit. Shirley v. Precision Castparts et al (5th Cir. August 12, 2013).  The employer terminated the employee for leaving a treatment program prior to being properly discharged, as required by … Continue Reading
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