Category Archives: Reasonable Accommodations

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The Devil is in the……..Biometric Scanner? Fourth Circuit Finds Employer Failed to Accommodate Employee’s Religious Belief

Just how far do you have to go to accommodate an employee’s off-the-beaten-path religious belief? The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that you at least have to give the same accommodations you give to disabled employees. In U.S. EEOC v Consol Energy, Inc., Mr. Beverly Butcher’s evangelical Christian beliefs put him in conflict … 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

Needle and the Damage Done: Pharmacist’s Phobia Not Enough for ADA Claim

Can fear of an aspect of your job constitute a disability under the ADA?  Depends on how essential the function is. In Stevens v. Rite Aid Corp, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals looked at the case of a Rite Aid pharmacist, Christopher Stevens, who suffered from trypanophobia—-fear of needles. Factual Background. In 2011, Rite Aid … 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

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

When to Say When? Fifth Circuit Rules on When an Accommodation Isn’t Working

In a published opinion, the Fifth Circuit has held that an employee’s poor performance in a light-duty position can relieve the employer from any further obligation to find a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This opinion highlights the importance of the interactive process, and emphasizes that both the employer and the … 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

What Tips the Scale? Obesity as a Perceived Disability Under the ADA

Employers often call with questions about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as they navigate when and how to make reasonable accommodations for employees with known disabilities. Most are generally familiar with the ADA’s prohibition of discrimination against a “qualified individual”—an individual who can perform the essential functions of the position with or without a … 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

Religious Discrimination Suit Over Muslim Job Applicant’s Hijab; U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against Abercrombie & Fitch

In a ruling handed down yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in a religious discrimination case against the popular clothing retailer, Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. (Abercrombie). The Supreme Court’s ruling overturns a 2013 Tenth Circuit summary judgment decision in Abercrombie’s favor. The Supreme Court found that the … 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

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
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