Archives: ADA

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Fourth Circuit Reaffirms That Regular, Reliable Attendance Is Essential Function Of Most Jobs

The Fourth Circuit has reaffirmed its position that regular and reliable attendance is an essential function of most jobs.  The Court held that an employer did not violate the Rehabilitation Act by taking adverse action against an employee because of her attendance issues—even though they were caused by her mental illness.  Hannah P. v. Coats, … Continue Reading

The FMLA, ADA and Overseas Employees

In the global economy, it is not unusual for U.S. multinational companies to have employees working overseas.  Overseas employment arrangements require employers to navigate a variety of complex legal issues – some of them leave related. For example, what happens if an overseas employee has a medical condition that causes them to miss work? The … Continue Reading

Broad Workers’ Compensation Release Agreement Bars Disability Discrimination Claims

The District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana dismissed an employee’s disability discrimination claims based on a broad release in her workers’ compensation settlement agreement with the employer. Peddy v. Aaron’s, Inc. Case No. 02:18-cv-1625 (E.D. La. Feb. 21, 2019). The Court also ruled in favor of the employer on its counterclaim for breach of … Continue Reading

Flesh Eating Bacteria Ate My Homework

If you’re like most folks, you’ve been wondering “when am I going to see a story mentioning both flesh eating bacteria and reasonable accommodation.” Wonder no more. Gary Brunckhorst worked for the City of Oak Park Heights Minnesota for more than fifteen years. In April 2014, he was serving as the Senior Accountant/Payroll Technician (Senior … Continue Reading

Unsettled Waters at the Accommodation of Last Resort

In 2019, we are poised to learn where the Fourth Circuit stands on reassignment as an accommodation—an issue that has split the Circuits. Before discussing where courts are divided, let’s start with the consensus.  First, the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) clearly requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to the limitations of an employee with … Continue Reading

Appellate Courts Agree: Regular, Reliable Attendance Is Essential Function of Most Jobs

Recent decisions from the Second, Fifth, and Eighth Circuit Courts of Appeals exemplify the growing consensus amongst courts that even employees with a disability are generally required to comply with company attendance policies.  While employers may need to provide leave as a reasonable accommodation, many courts generally agree that regular, reliable attendance is an essential … Continue Reading

Employers Asserting “Essential Job Function” Defense Need a Clear Job Description.

Just a few months ago, we wrote about a case where a federal district court denied summary judgment to an employer who had asserted that attendance at work was an essential job function. The Court held that although regular attendance at work was set out in the job description, that was not enough to obtain … Continue Reading

No Adverse Employment Action, No Failure-to-Accommodate Claim, Tenth Circuit Rules

The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) includes within its definition of “discriminate,” an employer’s failure to provide a reasonable accommodation to a qualified individual with a disability.  But, is a failure to accommodate standing alone—absent an adverse employment action—enough to establish an ADA failure-to-accommodate claim?  For example, if an employer fails to accommodate a wheelchair-bound … Continue Reading

Court Finds Standing Requirement for ADA Title III Claim Requires Plaintiff To Have “Concrete and Realistic” Plan to Return to the Hotel

A recent Middle District of Florida decision granted the Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s claims for relief under Title III of the ADA based on Plaintiff’s lack of standing to bring such claims.  In Kennedy v. Cape Siesta Motel (MD FL Oct 4, 2018) the Plaintiff claims she encountered architectural barriers upon her visit to … Continue Reading

Another Court Decides That Extended Leave is Not a Reasonable Accommodation

As employers struggle with managing how much, if any, leave is required as an accommodation under the ADA, we are beginning to get more direction from the Courts to guide those decisions. In Easter v. Arkansas Children’s Hospital (E.D. Ark. Oct. 3, 2018) an employee was unable to work after exhausting her FMLA leave but … Continue Reading

Employers Must Have Duties Based Reasons to Support the Assertion that Full-Time Attendance Is an Essential Job Function

Teenagers are not the only ones dissatisfied when their pleas of “why” are met with a “because I said so.” It turns out that courts of appeal do not care for it either. Careful readers of this space know that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may require employers to allow modified work schedules when … Continue Reading

Your Presence Is Required: Employee Unable to Travel to Job Site Was Not “Qualified” Within the Meaning of the ADA

In recent years, particularly with technology making it easier for employees to work remotely, courts have struggled to determine whether onsite attendance is an essential job function under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  This question is often dispositive because only qualified individuals—those who can perform a job’s essential functions with or without a reasonable … Continue Reading

You Can’t Always Get What You Want: Employers Don’t Have to Provide an Accommodation Requested by an Employee if There Are Other Reasonable Alternatives

A recent Third Circuit case, Sessoms v. Trs. Of the Univ. of Pa., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 16611 (3rd Cir. June 20, 2018), serves as a reminder that while the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees, it does not obligate an employer to provide the accommodation requested … Continue Reading

Overtime Can Be An Essential Job Function

A recent decision from the District Court for the District of Nebraska serves as a reminder that overtime can be an essential job function. See McNeil v. Union Pac. R.R._ 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85250.  On May 21, 2018, Union Pacific Railroad Company’s (“Union Pacific”) motion for summary judgment was granted and the Court determined … Continue Reading

District Courts in the Seventh Circuit Begin to Clarify Landmark Severson Decision

As we have previously reported, on September 20, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued a significant ruling for employers in Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc., 872 F.3d 476 (7th Cir. 2017), when it held that an multi-month, non-FMLA leave of absence is not a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with … Continue Reading

What Am I Doing Wrong?? Common FMLA Mistakes.

“What did I do wrong?” and “Am I doing this correctly?” are frequent questions from clients regarding FMLA administration. This is the fifteenth in a series highlighting some of the more common mistakes employers can inadvertently make regarding FMLA administration. Not properly communicating with an employee who is about to exhaust the 12 week leave … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Declines Review of ADA Leave Obligations

Sometimes the actions a court doesn’t take can have a very big impact. The Supreme Court’s April 2, 2018 decision not to review a recent Seventh Circuit ruling is just one of the cases. In Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc., a widely-publicized decision relating to the availability of extended leave as a reasonable accommodation under … Continue Reading

FMLA And ADA Claims Put To Bed Where Employer Did Not Know Employee Had Sleep Apnea At The Time Her Employment Was Terminated.

Sometimes what you don’t know can help you. In Guzman v. Brown County, a 911 Dispatcher who was fired after being late repeatedly had her FMLA interference and retaliation claims sent to dreamland by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The Appeals court held that the moribund claim should stay that way because the Dispatcher … Continue Reading

New York Federal Court Finds Alcoholism Is “Impairment,” Not Necessarily A Disability, Under the ADA

It seems axiomatic that a disability discrimination claim requires the plaintiff to suffer from a disability.  In Johnson v. N.Y. State Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Servs., No. 16-cv-9769 (RJS) (S.D.N.Y., March 13, 2018), a judge in the Southern District of New York dismissed a pro se plaintiff’s complaint for failure to allege that … Continue Reading

Donations Not Accepted – ADA Does Not Require Continued Use of Leave Donation Program

Many employers have programs allowing employees to donate their own time off to another employee with serious medical or family issues.  A dilemma often faced by employers with these policies is whether continued use of such donated time means the employee is not performing the essential function of attendance.  On the one hand, the employee … Continue Reading
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