Fourth Circuit ADA Plaintiff Loses on Summary Judgment Due To Admissions Made In His Own Complaint

Bernadette Hunton
Bernadette Hunton
01/21/2022
One of the more challenging areas of employment law that businesses must grapple with is leave accommodations.  Employers and employees often disagree about how much leave is too much leave and, when circumstances result in an employee’s termination, it’s not uncommon for litigation to ensue. Such were the facts of an employment dispute decided by the Fourth Circuit this week. Jessup v. Barnes Group, Inc., No. 20-1801 (1/19/22). Plaintiff...
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Alleged Harassment Lets FMLA Claim Proceed

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
10/18/2021
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides that use of FMLA leave cannot be used as a “negative factor” in employment actions designed to discourage an employee from taking leave.  See 29 C.F.R. § 825.220 (b) and (c). There are two types of FMLA claims: “interference” and “discrimination/retaliation” claims.  Courts have rejected the notion that the FMLA – unlike Title VII or the ADEA – provides for a “hostile work...
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Fourth Circuit Offers Guidance on Employer's Obligation to Make Reasonable Accommodations

 A recent decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit is a good reminder that the ADA does not require that an employee be granted the exact accommodation they are seeking. Rather, an employer fulfills its obligation when it offers to provide a reasonable alternative accommodation.  Murphy v. County of New Hanover, No. 21-1471 (September 17, 2021). Dante Murphy was employed by the county of New Hanover, North...
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Reasonable Accommodation and the ADA’s Interactive Process

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
06/30/2021
A major component of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the interactive process.  The law requires employers and employees to actively engage in this dialogue when exploring reasonable accommodations.  But there is no requirement that an employer agree to an employee’s preferred accommodation if there is another accommodation that is less expensive or easier to provide that will have the same effect.   As long as an...
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A Reminder of the Importance of the ADA’s Interactive Process

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
06/17/2021
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is clear:  it is crucial for employers to timely and thoroughly explore avenues of reasonable accommodation (that do not create an undue hardship) for employees with disabilities.  This is not a one and done thing; an employer needs to be fully engaged in the interactive process and keep a good record of what it has done to meet its obligations.  The failure to do so may result in an employee getting...
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Police Applicant’s “Regarded As” Disability Claim Gets A Second Chance

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
03/08/2021
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is most frequently associated with protecting individuals with actual disabilities and requiring employers to make reasonable accommodations (that are not undue hardships) to enable those individuals to perform the essential functions of their jobs.   What is sometimes overlooked (or possibly forgotten) is that the requirement of an “actual” disability is only one leg of the ADA triangle:...
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Be Wary of Disclosing Employees’ COVID-19 Vaccination Status

Jordan Dunham
Jordan Dunham
02/23/2021
As vaccines are being administered throughout the country, the end to the COVID-19 pandemic is in sight.  As a result, many employers are wondering what information can be shared regarding employees’ vaccination status. The answer is, or at least the cautionary one is, not much. Employers are facing inquiries regarding their employees’ vaccination status.  Customers and clients would like to know if the employee they are working with is...
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Reassignment -- The Reasonable Accommodation Of Last Resort

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
12/03/2020
Discrimination under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) includes failing to provide a reasonable accommodation, absent undue hardship, to a qualified individual with a disability.  A recent Fourth Circuit decision provides useful guidance for employers on the interactive process and reassignment as a reasonable accommodation.  Elledge v. Lowe’s Home Centers, LLC et. al., No. 19-1069 (4th Cir. Nov. 18, 2020),  Charles Elledge was a...
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No Magic Words Necessary to Request FMLA Leave

Clifford Geiger
Clifford Geiger
10/05/2020
There are no magic words an employee needs to utter to trigger rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).  The Ninth Circuit’s recent decision in Rouse v. Wynn Las Vegas, LLC, No. 18-17452 (9th Cir. 2020) illustrates the point.  In that case, Rouse sent his employer an email saying he wanted to take three days of paid vacation to have surgery.  Even though Rouse did not mention the FMLA, the court found that the email, as well...
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Stress Caused By A Difficult Supervisor Is Not A Disability

Employers often encounter claims that an employee is suffering work-related stress and needs an accommodation for a disability.  The employee often wants reassignment to a different supervisor, usually because of the supervisor’s management style, although the employee may characterize the problem as harassment, bullying, or in other pejorative terms.  Assuming it turns out that the employee is complaining about anxiety or stress caused by the...
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