ADA’s Associational Disability Provision does not Shield Poor-performing Employees from Termination

Eugene Stansberry, who sued his former employer for disability discrimination, is not disabled. His wife, however, is, suffering from Polyarteritis Nodosa , a rare and debilitating autoimmune disorder. Stansberry sued Air Wisconsin Airlines under the ADA's "associational discrimination"...

Jonathan Mook on the EEOC Final Regulations Implementing the ADAAA of 2008

On this edition, Jonathan R. Mook of DiMuroGinsberg in Alexandria, Va. explains the main thrust of the EEOC Final Regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008, key areas in the regulations, and their importance to employers and employees. Copyright© 2010 LexisNexis...

Pregnancy as Disability Discrimination: New ADA vs. Old ADA

A year ago, the 6th Circuit concluded that pregnancy-related impairments that are not part of a "normal" pregnancy-such as miscarriage susceptibility-can qualify for protection under the ADA. Spees v. James Marine, Inc., 617 F.3d 380 [ an enhanced version of this opinion is available to...

Staking out the EEOC and its Wave of ADA Suits Against Employers

I feel as if all I ever do these days is write about the Americans with Disabilities Act, but what else can I do? In the last six weeks, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed 21 lawsuits -- count em, 21! -- against employers alleging disability discrimination. This is in addition to...

Are Pregnant Employees Entitled to Reasonable Accommodation?

Our friends at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently scored another big win in a pregnancy discrimination case -- actually got summary judgment against the employer, which is unusual. In this case, the employer apparently knew it had messed up and failed to contest the EEOC's...

Epilepsy and the ADA

Today we discuss an unfortunate result which I am sorry to say was the result of a plaintiff's strategic error. In Ramos-Echevarria v. Pichis, Inc. , 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 21302 (1st Cir. Oct. 21, 2011) [ an enhanced version of this opinion is available to lexis.com subscribers / unenhanced...

Psychiatric Disabilities Under the ADA: Proposed Changes to Diagnostic Tool May Result in a Broader Definition of "Disability"

I just read a very interesting article titled " Furor over DSM-V ." Apparently, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association as a diagnostic tool), is in the process of being revised (for the fifth time, hence "V"). Details of...

10 Reasons for Employers to Be Jolly About the ADA (Says the EEOC)

The American Bar Association sponsored a webinar this week on the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was noteworthy for its inclusion of EEOC commissioners Chai Feldblum (Democrat) and Victoria Lipnic (Republican). I'm usually such a doom-and-gloomer when it comes to the amended version...

Update: The ADA Does Not Force Employers to Provide Indefinite Leave

Hey, that blog title looks familiar. Oh yeah! I wrote about it here back in October. This time around, another federal court, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, has reaffirmed that while a "leave of absence may be a reasonable accommodation [under the Americans with Disabilities Act ]"...

Do You Know? The ADA and Reverse Discrimination

Earlier this week, the EEOC published Veterans and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): A Guide for Employers . In this guide, the EEOC asks the following question: May a private employer give preference in hiring to a veteran with a disability over other applicants? According to the agency...

Courts Are Finally Starting to Apply ADAAA—and It Ain’t Pretty

It's taken awhile for courts to start applying the ADAAA-the January 1, 2009, amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act that rendered everyone with a medical condition disabled for purposes of the disability discrimination law. With one glaring exception , courts have concluded that the...

Employment and Labor Roundup: Defense of Marriage Act decision, drugs, NLRB update, and more!

Giddyap! It's been a short week, but we have tons to talk about in the labor and employment law world! Thinking out loud about the impact of yesterday's DOMA decision on the Family and Medical Leave Act. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit* held yesterday that Section 3 of the...

Court Holds That Requiring an Employee to Undergo Psyhological Counseling May Violate ADA

On August 22, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Kroll v. White Lake Ambulance Authority , ___ F.3d ___, Case No. 10-2348, held that requiring an employee to undergo psychological counseling may violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA states: "A covered entity...

Say It Ain’t So: Court Holds an Employer Does Not Have to Accommodate a Pregnant Employee

Last year, I railed against the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act , a bill that, if passed, would require employers to make a reasonable accommodation for an employee's pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions. I argued that the law does not need alteration because Title VII, through...

“Poor Performance” Caused by a Disability Is Not a Good Reason to Deny an Accommodation

The Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") requires employers to make "reasonable accommodations to the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability." 42 U.S.C.A. § 12112(b)(5)(A). To determine an appropriate accommodation employers...

Sixth Circuit District Court Concludes Telecommuting Is Not a Reasonable Accommodation under the ADA

by Lindsay M. Bouffard Marissa Mayer, Yahoo's recently appointed CEO, has come under fire for her decision to end Yahoo's telecommuting program. This drastic measure has Human Resources professionals wondering whether a blanket ban on telecommuting could have legal ramifications. Under...

Leave as an ADA Reasonable Accommodation; When Is Enough...Enough?

Unquestionably, when it come to tackling the Americans with Disabilities Act , one of the biggest issues affecting the workplace and accommodating disabled employees is providing leave as a reasonable accommodation. Anecdotally, a question that plagues most employers is just how much leave is enough...

The Long and Short of Height Discrimination under the ADA

A couple of week ago I wrote about why the ADA likely protects against obesity as a disability (thank you Wall Street Journal Law Blog for the linkage). If the ADA is starting to protect physical characteristics such as weight, what about height? McElmurry v. Arizona Dept. of Agriculture (D. Ariz...

Yes, the Mandatory ADA Interactive Process Means Employers Have to Actually Discuss Potential Accommodations with Employee

Two lawsuits filed in the past 11 days by the EEOC serve as a reminder that the mandatory “interactive process” under the Americans with Disability Act requires the employer to at least discuss whether there is an appropriate reasonable accommodation. There is not, however, any requirement...

EEOC Commissioner Feldblum Provides Answers on Obesity as an ADA Disability

About two years ago, the EEOC sued a Texas company, alleging that the company engaged in disability discrimination, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act , when it fired a 680-pound worker because he was morbidly obese. The EEOC alleged that the employee's immense weight interfered...

Does the ADA Mandate Transfer Preferences for Disabled Employees?

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of speaking at the National Employment Lawyers Association - New Jersey Annual Conference. I must admit that I was a bit leery. While it sounded legitimate enough -- they asked me to speak on a panel addressing accommodation issues under the Americans with Disabilities...

Does HIPAA Apply to Employers?

by Ruth T. Griggs The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, better known as HIPAA, protects the privacy and security of patient health information . A common question from human resource managers has been what is the impact of HIPAA on an employer’s ability to collect employee...

Is Infertility Fertile Grounds for Disability Discrimination Claims?

I’ve written before about employers getting themselves in trouble for pregnancy discrimination for firing employees while undergoing fertility treatments ( here and here ). Last week, the EEOC announced the settlement of case involving a different kind of “infertility” discrimination—the...

Court Reasons That Unreasonably Withdrawing a Reasonable Accommodation Is Reason for Employee to Win ADA Suit

Let's say that you have an employee whom the Americans with Disabilities Act would consider disabled and to whom you have afforded a reasonable accommodation for a long time. Maybe it's a few years of light duty to accommodate your employee's bad back. Maybe it's keeping your employee...

A Post About David Crosby, Alcohol, and the ADA

On Monday, it was public urination . Yesterday, we had indecent proposals . And today, the blogging gods, in which I hold a sincerely-held belief, serve me up this federal court opinion about an alcoholic named David Crosby -- not that David Crosby, but still -- who sued his former employer for...