Category Archives: Americans With Disabilities Act

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Managing the Interplay Between the ADA, FMLA and WC

ADA
The following description may seem quite familiar to those who deal with employee issues on a daily basis. Your employee, who has a physically demanding job on the factory floor, has been out on leave for an injury that he contends is work-related. However, your worker’s compensation insurance carrier has recently denied coverage. Additionally, the … Continue reading this entry

Seventh Circuit Puts the Brakes on Never-ending Leave Under the ADA

ADA
Employers everywhere have been repeatedly warned not to automatically terminate employees who have exhausted their Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave. Instead, employers should first consider whether the employee might be entitled to some additional leave time as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  But the key question for employers … Continue reading this entry

Multiple Choices: Compliance Considerations in the Shifting Landscape of Pre-Employment Testing

Pre-Employment
In recent years, the landscape of pre-hire employment screening tests has rapidly evolved. Employers throughout the U.S. are facing shrinking applicant pools as the labor market tightens.  As a result, many employers are now looking at personality and psychological tests to find the best fitting applicants. While the individual tests may vary, these tests often … Continue reading this entry

Mass Court Clouds Marijuana in the Workplace Issues

ADA
A recent unanimous decision by the highest state court in Massachusetts sends a warning signal to employers in all states. Marijuana in the workplace is a complex and unsettled legal issue that will require all employers to navigate a veritable minefield.  Even if you are in a state other than Massachusetts, this recent case may … Continue reading this entry

As If Leave Laws Aren’t Complicated Enough – Don’t Forget That Leave Can Be a Reasonable Accommodation

Leave
The myriad of leave laws and requirements often make employee leave requests an area of confusion, concern and risk for employers. If an employee has a medical condition and must take leave from their job, there may be several laws, benefits and policies that cover the situation.  Many employers are familiar with the Family and … Continue reading this entry

Court of Appeals Affirms Woody Allen - When it Comes to Work, Showing Up Is Essential

Pre-Employment
The movie director and comedian Woody Allen is credited with the observation that “Showing up is 80% of life.” A federal court of appeals in New Orleans has gone one step further and ruled that showing up for work is a 100% requirement, at least in most circumstances.… Continue reading this entry

ADA in the Digital Age - Federal Court Strikes Down Inaccessible Website

ADA
For the first time, a federal district court has granted a verdict finding that a private-sector company violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because its website was inaccessible to a visually impaired individual. This verdict is likely to lead to a proliferation of the already- growing number of lawsuits filed against … Continue reading this entry

Transgender Employees May Be Entitled To Protection From Discrimination Under The ADA

ADA
Of late, we have recently written quite a bit about the ever-changing legal landscape regarding protections for LGBTQ employees. Most of the authority we explored involved whether or not sexual orientation (as well as gender identity and expression) are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII).  Now, for the … Continue reading this entry

Could Wellness Programs Be Making Your Company “Sick?” The Potential Perils of Collecting Biometric Data About Employees

Employer
Wearable devices that track and record personal biometric data are hardly new to the technology scene. In addition to the now-commonplace electronic pedometers and heart rate monitors, there are portable and wearable devices that, quite literally, do everything – from administering medical tests, like electrocardiograms, to analyzing the quality of one’s sleep based on user … Continue reading this entry

Stepping Out of the Shadows: Accommodating Mental Health Issues in the Workplace

EEO Compliance
2016 brought about a host of changes for employers, including new political leaders, ever-changing technology, and new and more open dialogue on a variety of different issues. Aside from politics, perhaps one of the biggest issues brought to the forefront this past year concerns the topic of mental health. Once taboo, discussions of mental health … Continue reading this entry

EEOC Suffers Another Setback – ADA Does Not Require Automatic Reassignment of Disabled Employee to Open Position

EEOC Developments
As we have previously reported, under the Obama administration, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has aggressively sought to expand the breadth of the agency’s authority to collect employee pay data and other private company information. Similarly, the EEOC has sought to expand the scope of federal civil rights laws in a number of areas, … Continue reading this entry

Do Employers Need to Accommodate if the Employee Does Not Ask?

Most employers are aware of their obligation to explore reasonable disability accommodations when an employee asks for such a measure. But, what if the employee never asks? A new decision out of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit raises the concerning possibility that an employer could indeed be held liable for … Continue reading this entry

Worker Privacy and Security in an Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the phenomenon of everyday objects like phones, refrigerators, and cars connecting to the internet in order to send and receive data. While the IoT promises a future of convenience and control over our daily lives, it also presents challenges outpacing the current body of employment law. For example, … Continue reading this entry

New EEOC Rules for Wellness Programs: A 30 Percent Incentive = Voluntary

For years, employers have been allowed to offer voluntary wellness programs to employees under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Both laws generally prohibit health-related questions and medical examinations, such as biometric screenings, but have an exception if done in conjunction with a voluntary wellness program. However, in … Continue reading this entry

Connection to Someone With a Disability is Nearly Identical to an Actual Disability

As disability discrimination and accommodation claims continue to rise across the country, an appellate court in California may have just helped significantly expand such claims in the future by finding that an employee can maintain a suit for “associational” disability discrimination based on the disability of his son.… Continue reading this entry

Obesity Not A Disability Without An Underlying Medical Cause

In June of last year, we pondered whether obesity is a mere physical characteristic or a disability protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as now amended by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA). In that inquiry, undertaken in the context of a pending appeal of a federal court’s dismissal of a … Continue reading this entry

When Seemingly Indefinite Leave and Non-Cooperation Makes a Leave of Absence Unreasonable

A recent decision from the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia provides a result that employers may often think they do not see enough in labor and employment law: a common sense solution to a situation that confronts them often – what to do under federal (and potentially state) statutes requiring reasonable accommodation … Continue reading this entry

EEOC Issues Guidance on Rights of Applicants and Employees Infected with HIV

EEOC Developments
In a recent press release announcing new guidance for applicants and employees infected with HIV, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) noted that in 2014 alone, it resolved over 200 charges of discrimination based on HIV status, and recovered over $825,000 for job applicants and employees with HIV allegedly denied employment and reasonable accommodation as … Continue reading this entry

Employers Need to Consider Accommodation Requests Made at Any Time During a Disabled Employee’s Employment

Can an employer simply ignore a request by a disabled employee for an accommodation made in a meeting that could lead to the employee’s termination? A recent federal case from Wisconsin says no. In the case, the former employee, who is legally deaf, was employed as a sales associate in a national retail store. A confrontation … Continue reading this entry

Health Conscious? The EEOC Is Expanding Incentives for Employees’ Spouses

EEOC Developments
Employee wellness programs are frequently a source of ulcer-causing angst for employers, but the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is making moves to treat some of the underlying issues. Late last week, the EEOC issued a proposed rule to amend Title II of the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) that would “allow employers who … Continue reading this entry

25 Years of the ADA: Five Tips for ADA Compliance

Last week – July 26, 2015, to be precise – marked the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The anniversary kicked off celebrations of, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, the nation’s commitment “to eliminating discrimination against people with disabilities.” And while even this employer advocate lauds the purposes behind … Continue reading this entry

Obesity, Mere Physical Characteristic or Disability Protected Under Law?

It is no secret that the U.S. has a weight problem. We all hear the news about how American waistlines continue to expand, the various theories behind what is causing the trend and endless advice to reverse it. The American Medical Association has even labeled it a disease. Many workplaces have employees who are overweight. … Continue reading this entry

EEOC, Court Flip Flops Reveal Challenges to Employers Facing Accommodation Requests

If even the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the courts cannot agree how far the Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA) accommodation obligation extends, how is an employer supposed to do so? As we noted recently, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (covering Kentucky Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee) has determined that the obligation does … Continue reading this entry

Employer Wellness Programs: Finally (or at Least Potentially) Some Clarity

Late last week, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its long-anticipated proposed regulations regarding the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to employer-sponsored wellness programs for employees, and the news for employers is not all bad. In fact, while the guidance only comes in the form of proposed rules (meaning there is … Continue reading this entry