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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Hostile Work Environment Claims Not Barred By Ministerial Exemption

On August 31st, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled  a minister’s hostile work environment discrimination claim is not barred by Title VII's ministerial exemption.  The court's 2-1 decision in Demkovich v. St. Andrew the Apostle Parish joined the Ninth Circuit in finding that a hostile work environment is not a permissible means of exerting constitutionally protected control over a ministerial employee.  In 2012, St. Andrew...
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The EEOC Issues An Updated Q&A On COVID-19, The ADA, And Other EEO Laws

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
04/15/2020
Late last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) posted an update to its short question and answer document, What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act and Other EEO Laws.  The highlights (both pre-existing and newly added last week) include: While the EEO laws, including the ADA and Rehabilitation Act, continue to apply during this pandemic time, the EEOC has made clear they do not interfere...
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COVID-19 and the ADA

Vincent Jackson
Vincent Jackson
03/26/2020
The EEOC issued on March 19, 2020 an FAQ entitled What You Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and COVID-19 that contains important guidance for employers adjusting to the new reality presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act continue to apply, they do not prevent compliance with guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or state and local public...
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No Foul for Termination Over Failed Breath Alcohol Test

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
03/04/2020
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers can require employees to not be under the influence of alcohol at the workplace.  The ADA also allows employers to hold alcoholic employees to the same standards as other employees, even if their behavior is a result of their alcoholism.  In Kitchen v. BASF, No. 18-41119 (5th Cir. 2/28/20) the Fifth Circuit reiterated these points, holding that an employer did not violate the ADA when it...
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Erotic Films Challenged Under the ADA

Frank Kollman
Frank Kollman
03/03/2020
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employment discrimination, but it also requires public accommodations, such as wheelchair ramps and Braille lettering.  Places of public accommodation must be accessible to persons with disabilities. Over the years, the courts have had to deal with whether websites are “places” of public accommodation.  Several federal appeals courts have taken the position that they are not, unless they are...
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The Inability To Work For A Particular Supervisor Is NOT A Disability Under The ADAAA

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals reconfirmed the well-established principle under the Americans with Disabilities Act that an employee must be unable to work in a broad class or range of jobs in order to be disabled within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA).  In particular, in Woolf v. Strada, the Second Circuit held that an employee who was unable to work in his particular job as a result of stress...
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Maryland Legislature Considering New Payroll Tax To Fund Family and Medical Leave

We wrote earlier this week about some of the bills working their way through the legislative process in Annapolis.  An item worthy of its own post is legislation that would create a Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program to provide wage replacement for employees taking leave from work: to care for a child during the first year after the child’s birth or after the placement of the child through foster care, kinship care, or adoption; ...
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