Tag Archives: Disability

Can You Be “Regarded as” Disabled Based on a Potential Future Disability?

This certainly sounds futuristic. (Pun intended.) Still, in a case just decided by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, EEOC v. STME, LLC, the EEOC espoused precisely this position. The EEOC sued STME for disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act on behalf of Kimberly Lowe, a former STME massage therapist. Lowe was not … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Dodges the Question of Whether Morbid Obesity is an “Impairment” Under the ADA; EEOC Says Yes

On August 20, 2019, the Ninth Circuit dodged answering the question of whether morbid obesity is a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In Valtierra v. Medtronic Inc., No. 17-15282, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the District Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant, but came short of joining the Second, Sixth, … 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

Federal Court Allows Class Action Website Disability Access Case to Proceed Against An Employer

While we continue to wait for guidance from the government on website accessibility standards, plaintiffs continue to challenge the accessibility of company websites. For years, individuals have brought lawsuits claiming that their access to goods and services is limited under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities (“ADA”). More recently we have seen individuals challenge … 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

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

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

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

Alabama Court Decides an Individual with a Partially Amputated Foot is not Disabled Under the ADA

The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) made a number of significant changes to the definition of “disability.” Much of the change had to do with making it easier for an individual to establish that he or she has a disability within the meaning of the statute.  As a result employers have been accepting many … Continue Reading

Extending Leave Was Not A Reasonable Accommodation Under The ADA Where There Was A Lack Of “Certainty” About Return To Work Date

While employers generally accept that they cannot apply a maximum leave period after which employees are automatically terminated, they continue to struggle with how much leave must be provided as a form of accommodation under the ADA.  There is little dispute that leave for an indefinite period where the employee has a long term chronic … 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

Is Crying at Work Sufficient Notice of an FMLA Covered Condition?

It is well established that an employee need not specifically request leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) in order to benefit from the Act’s protections.  Rather, the law requires the employer to take action to notify an employee of FMLA rights when the employer acquires knowledge that an employee’s leave may be … 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

New York City Council Passes Law Requiring Pregnancy-Related Accommodations, Legislation Awaits Mayor’s Approval

On September 24, 2013, the New York City Council unanimously approved legislation that requires most New York City employers to provide reasonable accommodation for an employee’s pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. While the legislation must be approved by the Mayor to become law, the City Council passed the measure by a seemingly veto-proof 47-0 … Continue Reading

U.S. DOL Announces New Section 503 Disability Regulations

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) today announced a Final Rule that makes historic changes to the regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act with regard to the employment of individuals with disabilities, referred to in the Rule as “IWDs.” As explained in the DOL’s announcement, “Section 503 … 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

State Courts Disagree on Whether Morbid Obesity is a Disability

Appellate courts in two neighboring states—Kentucky and West Virginia—have reached different conclusions on whether obesity is a disability. In the Kentucky case, the plaintiff, who was approximately five feet four inches in height and weighed four hundred twenty-five pounds, claimed that her employer had unlawfully discriminated against her due to her morbid obesity in violation … Continue Reading

EEOC’s Record Jury Verdict of $240 Million in ADA Turkey Farm Case Reduced to $1.6 Million

In what the EEOC has called “one of its finest moments” in its effort to “combat employment discrimination,” a jury awarded $240 million to 32 individuals in an ADA case brought by the EEOC. It was the EEOC’s largest jury verdict ever. The award for compensatory and punitive damages amounted to $7.5 million per individual. … Continue Reading

Mammography Tech with Epilepsy Unqualified under ADA Because Unconscious During Seizures

A mammography tech with epilepsy is not a qualified individual with a disability under the ADA because she cannot perform the essential functions of her job "during the indefinite periods in which she was incapacitated," according to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Olsen v. Capital Region Medical Center (8th Cir. May 7, 2013). We … Continue Reading
LexBlog