Archives: Disability Accommodation

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Puerto Rico Enacts Leave for Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Harassment and Assault

Employees in Puerto Rico may take up to 15 days of unpaid leave each calendar year to address situations related to domestic or gender-based violence, child abuse, sexual harassment in employment, sexual assault, lewd acts, or felony stalking under a new law. The new “Special Leave” is in addition to any other leave to which … Continue Reading

Washington Weighs in on Obesity Discrimination

The state of Washington has weighed in on the debate as to whether obesity is a disability under disability discrimination laws. In Taylor v. Burlington Northern Railroad Holdings Inc., a case that wound its way through the courts for nine years, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit certified this question to … Continue Reading

Employer’s Good Deed Goes Unpunished—Reliable Attendance Is Essential Function Despite Prior Accommodation of Employee’s Absences

While it’s true that acts of generosity sometimes backfire on those who offer them, the Court’s ruling in Higgins v. Union Pac. R.R. Co., No. 18-1902 (8th Cir. July 24, 2019) shows this is not always the case.  In Higgins, the Eighth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for Union Pacific—holding that regular, reliable attendance was an … Continue Reading

California Extends Paid Family Leave from 6 Weeks to 8 Weeks

Beginning on July 1, 2020, California will extend the maximum duration of Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits from six weeks to eight weeks. Individuals may receive benefits from California’s state disability insurance (SDI) program: To care for a seriously ill child, spouse, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or domestic partner. To bond with a minor child … Continue Reading

San Antonio May Delay Paid Sick Leave Implementation to December 1; Dallas Remains on Track for August 1 and Issues Rules

They say everything is bigger in Texas and the controversy surrounding paid sick leave is no exception. With less than two weeks before the effective date of two paid sick leave laws in Texas, here is a quick scorecard on where these laws stand: San Antonio As is now being reported, the City of San … Continue Reading

Washington State Pushes Back First Reporting Deadline for Paid Family and Medical Leave Law

The Washington Employment Security Department (ESD) has pushed back the first reporting deadline under this new law to August 31, 2019. By that date, all Washington employers must file reports about their employees, including their wages and associated hours worked during the first two quarters of 2019. In addition, Washington employers must remit all premiums … Continue Reading

Jackpot! New Nevada Laws Provide Additional Benefits for Employees

This week, Governor Steve Sisolak signed a law requiring private employers with 50 or more employees in Nevada to provide 0.01923 hours of paid leave for each hour an employee works. Employees must be permitted to use up to forty hours of available paid leave “without providing a reason to his or her employer.” Nevada’s … Continue Reading

Will They or Won’t They: A Look at Some Significant Proposed California Legislation Relating to Leaves, Disability, and Other Protected Time Off

With May 31st 2019, marking the deadline for bills to be passed by their California house of origin, the following are some key pieces of employment legislation that may find their way to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk in October. Here is a round-up of potential 2020 legislation worth watching: Assembly Bill 767 – This bill … Continue Reading

Regular, Reliable Attendance Can Be An Essential Function, Connecticut Appellate Court Holds

A recent Connecticut Appellate Court case provides helpful reminders that: regular, reliable attendance can be an essential function of many jobs; and eliminating an essential job function is not a reasonable accommodation. Plaintiff in Barbabosa v. Board of Education of the Town of Manchester was a full-time, one-on-one paraprofessional for schoolchildren. The trial court held … Continue Reading

Connecticut Issues Guidance on Pregnancy Accommodation

On April 23, 2019, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities (CHRO) issued a Best Practices Bluepaper as guidance for employers with three or more employees facing accommodation requests from employees for pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions. The guidance reiterates the current obligations for employers as laid out in the 2017 amendments to the … Continue Reading

The ADA, Occupational Injuries and Light Duty

It is not uncommon for employees who are on leave and receiving workers’ compensation benefits to be released to return to work with light duty restrictions.  To account for these situations, some employers have designated light duty positions reserved for employees who are released to return to work on light duty after an occupational injury. … 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

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

Plaintiff Lacks Standing to Claim Website Violates ADA Where It Does Not Impede Ability to Access Physical Location of the Business

With the rise in lawsuits under Title III of the ADA regarding accessibility of websites, Courts have been framing how such claims fit into the law’s requirements for accessibility at places of public accommodation.  The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida recently provided additional clarification in Gomez v. Knife Management, LLC (S.D. Fla. … 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

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

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

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

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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