Category Archives: Americans With Disabilities Act

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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

Common Sense Prevails: Working From Home Sometimes Will Not Work

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

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?

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

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!

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

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

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?!?!?

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

Gotta Pass the Smell Test, Too

A Florida court recently let a claim proceed under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), even though the employee had been terminated for a positive drug test and the ADA has a specific exclusion for current drug users. In legal terms, the court denied the employer’s initial motion to try and have the case dismissed – … Continue reading this entry

When to Put the Brakes on Leaves of Absences and Other Accommodations

As most employers know, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with qualifying disabilities to help them perform their jobs. Easier said than done. Employers continue to struggle with the extent they must go to offer reasonable accommodations to comply with the law. And the stakes are high too. … Continue reading this entry

Wait, Now I Have to Allow Employees to Steal Too?

With the passage of the Americans with Disability Amendments Act, (ADAAA), Congress very purposefully moved disability-related inquiries away from whether employees are “qualified individuals with a disability” and refocused the inquiry on whether and how employers must attempt to accommodate employees and their claimed disabilities. Since this reframing of the primary disability inquiry, it seems … Continue reading this entry

Using “Light Duty” Lightly – and Properly

Employers often use the term “light duty” in a variety of employment contexts from job creation for occupationally injured employees to job duty modification to accommodate employee medical restrictions. However, employers should exercise care in their policies and practices regarding light duty jobs or assignments. Otherwise, they may find themselves unintentionally establishing unfavorable precedent for … Continue reading this entry

You May Think They Are Disabled But That Doesn’t Mean You “Regarded” Them as Disabled

While the 2008 amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) made it easier for employees to state a claim that he or she was “regarded as” having a disability, a recent decision from a federal court highlights that even under the amended law, an employee must still establish that the employer actually regarded him … Continue reading this entry

Web Conference: Section 503/VEVRAA Final Rules: A Practical Primer for What You Need to Do to Comply and When

On August 27, 2013, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) published the final rules regarding affirmative action for protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. These rules, which will become effective on March 24, 2014, require federal contractors and subcontractors to substantially change their affirmative action programs for veterans and individuals with disabilities. In … Continue reading this entry

It’s Another New Form: OMB Approves Voluntary Disability Self-Identification Form for Federal Contractors

On January 22, 2014, the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved the voluntary disability self-identification form which federal contractors must use to invite applicants and employees to voluntarily disclose whether they have, or ever had, a disability. The approved form will be utilized by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance … Continue reading this entry