Category Archives: Disability

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Dogged by Dogs at Work: Barking Up the Wrong Tree?

Suppose you hire Kristin Chenoweth to be your new TV show host, and she shows up on the set with her dog Thunder, claiming she needs the dog for emotional support. Must you allow this distraction?

Or suppose her third cousin shows up at your restaurant with Thunder’s twin bearing a “service animal tag,” yapping away and disturbing servers and … Continue Reading

It’s Audit Season: Have You Audited Your Website’s Accessibility?

Audit season is in full swing. Businesses now are working with auditors on their tax and other audits to ensure compliance with various financial regulations. But there is one audit that many businesses have yet to undertake and have continued to miss over the last few years: the accessibility of their website. Many businesses continued to be stunned when receiving … Continue Reading

Stress Claims Stressing Employers Out

Let’s face it: work can be stressful. So what’s an employer to do when an employee requests a stress-free or less stressful work environment as an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act? As always, it depends. While the ADA generally requires employers to engage in the interactive process to determine whether they can accommodate employees with disabilities, there occasionally … Continue Reading

Medical Marijuana and the Workplace

With the growing list of states legalizing marijuana, are workplace drug policies up in smoke? As the new year begins, Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota join the growing list of states that have legalized medical marijuana. Currently, 28 states* and Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana use for certain medicinal purposes, and eight states** and the District of Columbia have legalized … Continue Reading

Catch-22 for Franchisors: The Joint Employment Dilemma

As government agencies steadily expand the concept of  joint employment, franchisors increasingly find themselves in a difficult position. Since August 2015, when the NLRB ruled in Browning-Ferris that entities with the ability to exercise direct or indirect control over workers can be joint employers (prior blog post here), franchisors have experienced increased scrutiny from both federal agencies and the … Continue Reading

Employers Take Note, EEOC Issues Final Retaliation Guidance

Employers should review their policies concerning retaliation and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) interference in light of the new Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation published by the EEOC this week.  As retaliation is now the most frequently alleged basis of discrimination, employers should take note. … Continue Reading

Effective Management of Employee Medical Issues in 2015

Compliance with the Family & Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act continues to cause issues for even the most experienced workplace professionals. In recent years, both the FMLA and ADA have expanded coverage for employee medical issues. For example, employees who are approved for FMLA-covered intermittent leave must be permitted to use that leave in one-hour increments … Continue Reading

EEOC Updates Guidance on Accommodating Pregnant Workers

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued revised pregnancy discrimination guidance setting forth a framework for assessing how far employers must go in accommodating pregnant employees, following the Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this year in Young v. United Parcel Serv., Inc.  In that case, the Court held that, although a policy of providing light duty only to certain workers was … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Confirms That Providing “Effective” Reasonable Accommodation Sufficient Under ADA and NYS Law

In Noll v. Int’l Bus. Machs. Corp., 13-cv-4096 (2d Cir May 21, 2015), the Second Circuit Court of Appeals addressed the extent to which, under the ADA and New York State law, an employee must be provided with the precise accommodation he or she requests and whether, if the employer offers a different type of accommodation, its failure to … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Rules on, But Fails to Clarify, Pregnancy Discrimination Law

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act extends Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination to include pregnancy. It also says that employers must treat “women affected by pregnancy . . . the same for all employment-related purposes . . . as other persons not so affected but similar in their ability or inability to work.” But what does this latter provision mean when … Continue Reading

Truck Driver With “Current” Diagnosis of Alcoholism Is Not Qualified Under the ADA

An alcoholic is a person with a disability and is protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act if he is qualified to perform the essential functions of the job. But what if one of the essential functions of the job is not having a current diagnosis of alcoholism? That was the question posed recently by Jarvela v. Crete Carrier Corp.Continue Reading

Reasonable Accommodations Under the ADA Do Not Require Changing a Job’s Essential Functions

Weldon Williams, a pharmacist, suffered from diabetes which limited his ability to stand for extended periods of time. Williams sued his former employer Revco Discount Drug Centers, Inc., d/b/a CVS Pharmacy, Inc. (“CVS”) alleging that CVS failed to accommodate his requests for an accommodation under the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Williams “acknowledged that his position involved extended standing over … Continue Reading

Are Websites Places of Public Accommodation?

By now, most lawyers are aware that Title III of the ADA applies to activities of an entity whose operations “affect commerce” and is a “place of public accommodation” as defined by statute.  42 U.S.C. § 12181(7)(A)-(L).  Commerce is defined as “travel, trade, traffic, commerce, transportation, or communication (A) among the several States; (B) between any foreign country or any … Continue Reading

Do Employers Have to Offer Telecommuting as a Reasonable Accommodation?

Regular attendance is an essential function of most jobs.  Thus, employers generally do not have to accommodate employees whose disability prevents them from regularly attending their job.

But a recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit sheds new light on what “attendance” may mean.  In Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Ford Motor Company (6th … Continue Reading

Irregular Attendance May Render An Employee With A Disability “Unqualified”

In a recent case, Daniel Mecca v. Florida Health Services Center, Inc., Case No. 8:12-cv-02561 (M.D. Fla. February 3, 2014), a federal court in Florida held that where regular attendance is an “essential function” of a position and leave will not allow regular attendance now or in the immediate future, leave is not a “reasonable accommodation.”

After resigning his … Continue Reading

Florida’s Unemployment Process Violates The ADA – Warning For Employers

Florida’s requirement that applicants for unemployment insurance apply over the Internet and take an online skills test discriminated against the disabled, because they could not easily access the computerized process, according to the Department of Labor’s Civil Rights Center. The determination came in a case lodged by the Miami Workers’ Center and the National Employment Project, which claimed that disabled … Continue Reading

ADA Pool and Spa Accessibility Compliance Deadline is Rapidly Approaching

The current compliance date for making swimming pools and spas ADA accessible is January 31, 2013, although the deadline could be further extended by the U.S. Department of Justice.  (DOJ has extended the compliance deadline on two occasions, but not for pools and spas constructed or altered on or after March 15, 2012). The requirements may include installing an independently … Continue Reading

Miscalculating Eligibility for FMLA Leave Can Be A Costly Mistake

Telling employees that they’re eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act when they’re not can be a costly mistake for an employer. That’s the message behind a recent Pennsylvania decision. In Medley v. Montgomery County, (E.D. Pa.) No 2:12-cv-01995, a nursing assistant worked fewer than  the 1250 hours required to be eligible for FMLA leave. However,  … Continue Reading

DOL Issues Notice of Rulemaking to Implement FMLA Amendments

On January 30, 2012, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced that the U.S. Department of Labor is issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking to implement new statutory amendments to the Family and Medical Leave Act that would expand military family leave provisions and incorporate a special eligibility provision for airline flight crew employees.

The National Defense Authorization Act for … Continue Reading

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