Category Archives: Americans With Disabilities Act

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

FEHC
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?

li_disabilities
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

la_social
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

li_eeoc
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

di_disabilities
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

li_disabilities
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

la_discrimination
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

li_disabilities
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

di_disabilities
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?

li_disabilities
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

da_disabilites
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

li_eeoc
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

Common Sense Prevails: Working From Home Sometimes Will Not Work

li_disabilities
Well, phew. We like when legal developments we believe raise troubling questions with problematic implications later develop into something seemingly more rational based on the intersection of law and logic. One such pleasant development occurred last week, when a federal appellate court reversed an earlier decision suggesting employers could no longer require many workers to … Continue reading this entry

Supreme Court Delivers New Life to Pregnancy Discrimination Act Claim

la_eeoc
In an eagerly awaited ruling expected to provide greater guidance on an employer’s obligation to accommodate pregnant employees, last week the U.S. Supreme Court established the standard an employee must meet to state a discrimination claim under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) when an employer provides accommodations to non-pregnant employees, but does not provide the same … Continue reading this entry

What Is a “Direct Threat” to Health or Safety Under the ADA?

da_disabilites
Most employers understand that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. However, an employer may legally decide not to hire an individual with a disability if he or she poses a “direct threat to the health and safety” to themselves or others. So, what is a “direct threat?” The … Continue reading this entry

”Smoking Gun” Comments Serve as an Important Reminder of the ADA’s Protection Against Associational Discrimination

li_disabilities
Most employers are well aware that the Americans with Disabilities Act(ADA) protects qualified individuals with disabilities against discrimination on the basis of disability and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, if those accommodations do not pose an undue hardship for the employer. However, a recent court decision reminds employers that even individuals … Continue reading this entry

Multiple Requests for Extension of Medical Leave – Three Strikes and the Employee Is Not Out!

di_disabilities
A recent Americans with Disabilities Act case is a reminder the employers must proceed carefully before denying repeated requests for extensions of medical leave by an employee. In the case, the employer had a “personal leave” policy that allowed for up to two additional 30-day leaves of absence after Family and Medical Leave Act leave … Continue reading this entry

No Coach Necessary for Potty-Mouth Employee

da_discipline
As we have recently noted, and as many employers have probably bemoaned a time or two, sometimes it feels like the legal concept of “reasonable accommodation” has little to do with real-world notions of what is reasonable, particularly when courts are telling employees they might have to allow admitted employee theft as such an accommodation. … Continue reading this entry

EEOC Effectively Declares Pregnancy a "Disability" Requiring Reasonable Accommodation — Even When the Pregnant Employee Is Not Disabled

li_eeoc
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has recently declared that pregnancy alone, even without other underlying medical conditions, may require employer accommodations according to recent guidance released July 14, 2014. In a controversial decision splitting the commissioners 3-2, the EEOC broadcast a specific focus on pregnancy-related discrimination due to a continued uptick in charges and complaints over … Continue reading this entry

You Posted My Medical Information on Facebook?!?!?

di_social
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment. An employer is required to make a reasonable accommodation to an employee’s known disability if it would not impose an undue hardship on the employer’s business. In the course of exploring an employee’s limitations … Continue reading this entry