Photo of Katrin U. Schatz

Katrin Schatz is a Principal in the Dallas, Texas, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. and is a contributor to the Disability, Leave & Health Management Blog. She represents management in all major areas of employment law and has defended employers nationwide in a broad range of employment disputes, including claims of discrimination, failure to accommodate, wage and hour violations and trade secrets disputes. Her counseling practice focuses on devising proactive solutions for legal compliance, with a focus on compliance with federal and state disability and leave management laws.

Learn more about Ms. Schatz on the Jackson Lewis website.

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

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, and a generous sprinkling of patience form key ingredients in the recipe for avoiding liability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Continue Reading Breaks and Flexible Hours Not a Reasonable ADA Accommodation for Frequently Absent Employee, Court Holds

Perhaps not, according to the First Circuit Court of Appeals. Not all retaliation is the same, the court reminds us in its December 14, 2016 decision in Chase v. U.S. Postal Service. Evidence that a supervisor retaliated because of an employee’s workers’ compensation claim does not itself prove the supervisor also retaliated because the employee took concurrent leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Mocking an employee’s allegedly fake injury does not necessarily show hostility toward use of FMLA leave.
Continue Reading Does Calling Someone an “Injury Compensation Specialist” Prove FMLA Retaliation?

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 to comply with federal regulations and guidelines.
Continue Reading Court Again Approves Safety-Based Medical Examination without Individualized Assessment

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 Eighth Circuit held that an employer who learns an employee cannot perform essential duties without accommodation due to a medical condition may need to treat the information as an “implicit” accommodation request.  Such an implicit request can trigger the interactive process even though the employee never specifically asked to be accommodated.  The opinion can be found here
Continue Reading Finding the “Implicit” Accommodation Request

In March, we reported on a landmark consent decree that settled the first lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice alleging that a corporate website failed to meet standards for accessibility established by Title III the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Now, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has announced