Telework Requests Remain Tricky for Employers

Clifford Geiger
Clifford Geiger
11/17/2022
Often, an employee will present a doctor’s note recommending telework, or saying an employee may return to work remotely.  Suppose the employee’s job can be performed remotely.  Does the employer have to allow telework?  Or is the employer entitled to more information before deciding what to do?  In Owens v. Georgia, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit recently explained what information a disabled employer must provide to her...
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Employee's Own Testimony About Their Medical Condition May Be Sufficient Evidence To Establish The Disability.

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
10/07/2022
The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently held a plaintiff's own testimony about his medical condition and the restrictions/limitations he experienced was sufficient on its own for a jury to be able to decide if the individual was disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  In Sugg v. City of Sunrise, Mr. Sugg was the Chief Electrical Inspector for the City.  Shortly into his employment, he suffered a heart attack.  After just...
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Employer’s Independent Review Sinks FMLA Retaliation Claim

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
09/29/2022
Employers are sometimes skittish about taking an adverse employment action for legitimate reasons against an employee who has exercised their protected rights, fearing the almost inevitable claim of retaliation.  Indeed, it seems nearly every EEOC charge I get alleges retaliation even when the facts demonstrate it wasn’t remotely possible.  That, of course, is not the way things are supposed to work.  An employee does not insulate themselves...
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Fourth Circuit: ADA Protection for Gender Dysphoria

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
08/25/2022
The issue of federal protection for gender identity was, it seemed, resolved with the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, 590 U.S. ___, 140 S. Ct. 1731 (2020), which held that Title VII’s definition of sex includes a prohibition of discrimination against gay and transgender individuals.  The LGBTQ community (along with many others) applauded this decision.  And it is settled law. But are other protections available to the...
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Court Dismisses Hostile Work Environment Claim

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia recently dismissed a claim of hostile work environment  under the Rehabilitation Act.  Katz v. Department of Justice, No. 1:20-cv-554 (June 20, 2022). In dismissing the case, Judge Ellis found that the plaintiff's own pleadings doomed his claim.  The plaintiff was employed as a Special Agent for the DEA from May 1996 until April 2020. In 2017, Katz was diagnosed with a brain...
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Employee Who Requests Transfer To Less Stressful Location Gets Trial

Clifford Geiger
Clifford Geiger
06/17/2022
Employees sometimes assert that they suffer from stress or anxiety because they cannot work with a particular supervisor or coworker or at a particular busy or stressful location.  These claims are usually unsuccessful, but they may fare better when a large employer has the option or flexibility to transfer an unhappy employee. In one recent case, a court ruled that an employee who was denied a transfer from a particular location that caused him...
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Denied Parking Accommodation Equals Disability Trial

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
06/08/2022
Employers sometimes need to be reminded that a reasonable accommodation can be an easy thing.  Refusing to make one without first engaging in the “interactive process” can result in prolonged litigation. After all, everyone is entitled to their decade in court. Today’s story involves a former VA employee who the Eleventh Circuit decided will be able to have a jury decide if she was illegally denied permission to park in the VA lot for...
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EEOC Issues New Guidance On ADA-Compliant Use of AI For Employment Decision-Making

Bernadette Hunton
Bernadette Hunton
05/13/2022
For the first time, the EEOC has issued guidance on how to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when using artificial intelligence (AI) for employment decision-making. Overall, the Q&A document reiterates familiar principles of ADA law: (1) provide reasonable accommodations for an applicant/employee with a disability; (2) don’t use testing tools that intentionally or unintentionally screen out disabled individuals; and (3)...
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Magic Words Are Not Needed for An ADA Request for Reasonable Accommodation, But Sufficient Words Are

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
03/04/2022
While courts have said repeatedly about the ADA that an employee need not use magic words or even the phrase “reasonable accommodation” when making such a request, the case of Powley v. Rail Crew Xpress, LLC, No. 21-1131 (8th Cir. Feb. 15, 2022), is a good reminder that the ADA does require employees to provide sufficient information to an employer that a health issue could be a disability interfering with the ability to work and necessitating a...
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COVID-19 May Be A Disability Under the ADA

Clifford Geiger
Clifford Geiger
02/24/2022
A U.S. District Court in Alabama recently addressed whether COVID-19 can be a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Brown v. Roanoke Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center, No. 3:2021cv00590 – Document 22 (M.D. Ala. 2022). In the summer of 2020, Lucious Brown was terminated from her position as a certified nursing assistant for failing to report to work on the 13th day of a 14-day COVID-19 isolation period.  At the time of...
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