Tag Archives: reasonable accommodation

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

Do Employers Have to Accommodate Pregnant Employees?

Massachusetts says yes! An amendment to the Massachusetts Fair Employment Practices Act requires employers to accommodate pregnant workers. According to the law, some accommodations that may be necessary for pregnant workers, include: more frequent or longer breaks; time off; acquisition or modification of equipment or seating; temporary transfers; job restructuring; light duty; private non-bathroom space … 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

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

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

Ink Spilt, Views Split on Attendance as Essential Job Function under ADA

What better place to contemplate the ADA issue of whether coming to work is an essential function of a job than at the recent Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) Compliance Conference, an annual three day seminar for those who toil in the depths of disability leave management and love every minute of it? It all … Continue Reading

Common Sense Trumps EEOC’s Position in ADA Telework Case

When I wrote last week that telework was “in the air” because we were anxiously awaiting the en banc Sixth Circuit decision in EEOC v. Ford Motor Company, little did I know that the decision was likely getting a final review before its release, which occurred on Friday. Common sense trumps the EEOC’s position on … Continue Reading

Miles’ Law at Work in Telework Case Against the EEOC?

With telework as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA in the air as we await anxiously the Sixth Circuit’s en banc decision in EEOC v. Ford Motor Company, a recent decision concerning the EEOC’s failure to provide telework as a reasonable accommodation got my attention.  Miles’ law comes to mind. Named for a chief of … Continue Reading

Ford Motor ADA Telecommuting Case Still Running

A few months ago, I posted my fourth and what I then called my “final” blog on the Sixth Circuit’s significant ADA decision in EEOC v. Ford Motor Company.  I had never posted four blogs about a decision. But that “final” blog has turned out not to be “final” because on August 29, 2014, a … Continue Reading

ADA Accommodation Process “Not a Verbal Game of Tag”

“The accommodation process is not a verbal game of tag in which the last person to say something wins,” according to the dissenting judge in a case that focused on which party was responsible for the breakdown of that process. Ward v. McDonald, Secretary U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (D.C. Cir. August 12, 2014). The … Continue Reading

Inflexible Leave Policies under the ADA since Hwang

Since 2009, the EEOC has sued numerous employers who have terminated employees pursuant to an inflexible leave policy, a policy that provides a defined amount of leave and results in an employee’s termination once the employee exhausts that leave.  The EEOC argues that such policies are unlawful because they do not allow for additional leave … Continue Reading

Reasonable Accommodations Enable Employees to Work, “Not to Not Work”

The recent Tenth Circuit decision in Hwang v. Kansas State University upholding the employer’s inflexible leave policy causes one to ponder the logic of leave as an accommodation under the ADA in a broader sense. When contemplating such issue, the “oxymoronic anomaly” relating to this issue comes to the fore. Just what is this anomaly? … Continue Reading

Inflexible Leave Policy is Fair, Lawful and Protects Disabled Employees, Says Tenth Circuit

Reports of the demise of inflexible leave policies—leave policies that result in termination if the employee is unable to return to work after a fixed amount of leave – are premature. The EEOC has sued numerous employers, alleging that their “inflexible leave policies” were unlawful because they did not take into account the possibility of … Continue Reading

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished in ADA Telecommuting Case

This, my fourth and last post about the Sixth Circuit’s decision in EEOC v. Ford Motor Company (6th Cir. April 22,2014), deals with the adage, variously attributed to Oscar Wilde, Clare Booth Luce and a host of others, that “no good deed goes unpunished.” Recall the plaintiff in this case, Harris, a resale buyer, had … Continue Reading

An Inconvenient ADA Accommodation—Telecommuting

In its 2005 guidance on working at home, or telecommuting, as a reasonable accommodation, the EEOC said that “[m]any employers have discovered the benefits of allowing employees to work at home through telework…programs.” I suspect as many requests to work at home are met with quiet groans by employers as by the excitement of discovering … Continue Reading

When It Comes to ADA Accommodation, Beware the “Barnett Slide”

Dance professionals would never confuse the “one-step” with the “two-step” and neither should employers when it comes to evaluating the reasonableness of a requested accommodation. The two-step analysis comes from the Supreme Court’s 2002 decision in US Airways, Inc. v. Barnett. The one-step analysis, much less favorable to employers, continues to be advanced by the … Continue Reading

EEOC Letter Comments on Substance of ADA Forms

To add structure to the often amorphous process of obtaining and evaluating requests for accommodations, employers seeking compliance, efficiency and consistency have developed forms to assist their efforts. In an EEOC Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) “informal discussion letter” replete with cautions for those employers, the OLC said: “The wide range of disabilities, employers, jobs, … Continue Reading
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