Federal Circuits are split over whether the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to accommodate commuting or transportation difficulties outside the work environment. In late July 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit decided a case applying the ADA to an employee who requested a schedule change because his cataracts made it difficult to commute safely at night. The Seventh Circuit concluded the ADA might...read more
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by George W.H. Bush 33 years ago this month – the same year our first child was born. Like most youngsters, the early years of the ADA’s existence found it growing in fits and starts. It was sent to the principal’s office (the Supreme Court in this case), more than any other kid in the class. Most of those times it was seen by SCOTUS as being “too big for its britches” and...read more
Anyone who has engaged in the ADA’s interactive process to provide a “qualified individual with a disability” (meaning that the individual has a “mental or physical impairment” that “substantially limits one or more major life activities”) with a “reasonable accommodation” that does not involve an “undue hardship” to enable them to perform the “essential functions of the job” knows just how challenging that task can be....read more
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued guidance called “Hearing Disabilities in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act.” The resource addresses: when an employer may ask an applicant or employee questions about a hearing condition and how it should treat voluntary disclosures; what types of reasonable accommodations applicants or employees with hearing disabilities may need; how an employer should handle...read more
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...read more
Employee's Own Testimony About Their Medical Condition May Be Sufficient Evidence To Establish The Disability.
Kollman & Saucier
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...read more
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...read more
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...read more
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...read more
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...read more
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