Category Archives: Disability Discrimination

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“But My Doctor Said It Was Cool”: Florida’s New Medical Marijuana Bill and Employment Considerations

Last month, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a medical marijuana use bill. This was the result of the overwhelming vote (71 percent) in favor of amending the Florida Constitution to allow medical marijuana use as prescribed by a licensed Florida physician. Florida now joins 27 other states that have legalized at least some … Continue Reading

EEOC To Employers: Requiring Employees to Return to Work with “No Restrictions” Could Get You Sued

Before the Americans with Disabilities Act (and there was a time before the ADA), it was not uncommon to require employees to have a doctor’s note returning them to work “with no restrictions.” That won’t work in today’s ADA world, and the EEOC’s recent complaint against M&T Bank Corporation in New York provides a clear reminder. … Continue Reading

Are Transgender Employees Disabled under the ADA?

There has been a lot of discussion over the last year about whether transgender employees are protected against sex discrimination under Title VII—but what about against disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? Maybe. In Kate Lynn Blatt v. Cabela’s Retails, Inc., a federal district court in Pennsylvania has ruled that a transgender … Continue Reading

From the Tinfoil Hat Files: Plaintiff Sleeping on the Job Claims Sensitivity to Electromagnetic Voltage

The 7th Circuit, in a short opinion issued April 6, zapped a plaintiff’s claim that he was terminated in violation of the ADA based on his condition of being overexposed to electromagnetic voltage at his job. Mr. Hirmiz, a desk clerk at a Travelodge hotel, was caught on video sleeping during a fight that broke out … Continue Reading

Anxiety, Absenteeism, and the ADA

As accommodating and flexible as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compels employers to be, the harsh reality is that there are some jobs that a person with certain disabilities simply cannot do. When an employee suffering from a disability can no longer perform the essential functions of her job with or without a reasonable … Continue Reading

Apply Here! (with Everyone Else): ADA Does Not Mandate Noncompetitive Reassignment

When you can’t reasonably accommodate a disabled employee in the current position, do you have to give the employee a vacant position or can you follow your usual, competitive process? In EEOC v. St. Joseph’s Hospital, Inc., the Eleventh Circuit found that employers need only provide meaningful equal employment opportunities to comply with the Americans … Continue Reading

Sign of the Times: EEOC Settles Case of Employer Failing to Provide ASL Interpreter for Job Interview

A deaf person applies for a job and the employee who takes applications asks you “how can a deaf person do this job?” What if an essential function of the job requires interaction with the public or the ability to communicate with team members or to respond to an audible safety warning? Be careful—take a … Continue Reading

Bend Don’t Break: The EEOC Says Inflexible Attendance Policies Violate the ADA

In managing employee attendance, be careful about policies that suggest automatic termination after a certain number of absences as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) believes such policies violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC has filed suit against Wayne Farms, a poultry plant, alleging the company’s attendance policy, which allegedly required the … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Confirms That The ADA Does Not Require Employers To Create Permanent Light Duty Positions For Disabled Employees

Giving an employee temporary light duty does not mean you have to create a permanent light duty position as a reasonable accommodation, at least according to a recent Sixth Circuit case. Here are the facts the Court considered in Meade v. AT&T Corporation: Stephen Meade worked for AT&T as a facility technician, installing and maintaining … Continue Reading

New Guidance From the EEOC on Leave as Reasonable Accommodation Doesn’t Give Employers Much Guidance

The EEOC’s latest guidance on leave and the ADA makes clear that the Commission isn’t backing down from its position that employers must consider leave as a reasonable accommodation, a topic we’ve discussed in prior blog posts. But with a relatively undefined standard, how do employers know where the line is between reasonably accommodating an … Continue Reading

Dollar General’s Firing of Employee on Leave Did Not Violate the ADA or FMLA

A recent Eleventh Circuit case under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) approved Dollar General’s termination of an employee on leave. The timing of Dollar General’s decision could not have been worse (at least from a lawyer’s perspective)—the employee was still on leave for cancer treatment when … Continue Reading

EEOC Proposes Revised Affirmative Action Rules for Federal Agencies and their Obligations to Disabled Employees

The EEOC recently published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking clarifying federal agencies’ affirmative action obligations under Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 501 requires federal agencies to establish an affirmative action program (AAP) for the hiring, placement, and advancement of individuals with disabilities. Significantly, the EEOC aims to set affirmative action goals … Continue Reading

Extra Paperwork Triggers EEOC to File ADA Suit in South Carolina

The EEOC recently filed a disability discrimination suit in a South Carolina federal court (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Correct Care Solutions, LLC). The complaint alleges that Correct Care Solutions, LLC, (“Correct Care”) fired an employee because of her disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Correct Care offers medical services to … Continue Reading

Happy Birthday ADA and How We Can Celebrate

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is 25 years old this year. I was a newly minted lawyer when this law emerged in 1990 and as I have grown, so have the number of disability discrimination lawsuits. In celebration of the ADA’s birthday, I thought we could celebrate with a quick review of an employer’s … Continue Reading

Recent $50,000 Settlement Serves as Reminder that Employers Do Not Always Know What’s Best for their Employees

Question:  Your employee has a heart attack and wants to return to work sooner than you think he should. There’s nothing wrong with giving the employee additional time off or terminating the employee if you think the job will impede the employee’s recovery or cause another heart attack, right? Wrong! Baldwin Supply Company, a Minnesota … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Vacates Young v. UPS Finding that UPS Failed to Accommodate Lifting Restrictions of Pregnant Worker

The  U.S. Supreme Court revived Peggy Young’s pregnancy discrimination claim against UPS by vacating a Fourth Circuit decision today by a 6-3 vote. Young worked as an air driver for UPS, which required her to lift up to 70 pounds.  After she became pregnant, Young’s doctor determined that she should not lift more than 20 … Continue Reading

Are We Being Punked? EEOC Files Disability Discrimination Claim Against Disability Services Provider

The EEOC has filed a lawsuit (EEOC v. ValleyLife, Civil Action No. 2:15-cv-00340-GMS) under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) against ValleyLife, a disability support services company in Arizona, claiming that ValleyLife has failed to reasonably accommodate its employees with disabilities. According to the complaint, ValleyLife had a policy under which an employee was automatically … Continue Reading

You Must Be Sober For More Than A Week To Keep Your Truck Driving Job

If a commercial driver is diagnosed with chronic alcoholism, can his employer terminate him a week later because his diagnosis excludes him from performing the essential functions of his job? In Jarvela v. Crete Carrier Corp., the Eleventh Circuit said yes. Crete Carrier terminated Jarvela because of his week-old diagnosis, determining that he was in … Continue Reading

Does the Pregnancy Discrimination Act Require Light Duty Assignments for Pregnant Workers?

The Supreme Court recently heard oral argument in Young v. UPS, a case that could drastically impact accommodation policies for pregnant employees. Up until now, courts widely held that employers could offer light-duty assignments to a limited class of employees, for example, only those returning to work following an on-the-job injury. Peggy Young claims that … Continue Reading

EEOC Sues FedEx Ground for Failing to Accommodate Deaf Employees and Recruits

The EEOC recently announced that it is suing FedEx Ground Package System for allegedly violating the Americans With Disabilities Act in their dealings with deaf and hearing-impaired workers nationwide. The suit claims that FedEx Ground failed to provide American Sign Language interpretation and closed-caption training videos during a mandatory initial tour of facilities and new-hire … Continue Reading
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