College Employee’s ADA and Retaliation Claims Get Past Summary Judgment

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
09/29/2014
Lest any employer need reminding that workplace disability issues (and the ADA/FMLA interplay) are nearly always tricky, a recent decision by Judge Russell proves the point well. In Williams v. Balt. City Cmty. College, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133144 (D. Md. Sept. 23, 2014), the court denied the College’s motion for summary judgment on the plaintiff’s “regarded as” disabled and retaliation claims, while granting the motion on plaintiff’s...
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Regional Air Carriers are “Joint Employers” Under FMLA

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
09/25/2014
The Seventh Circuit has held that two air carriers that supplied regional air service for United Airlines are joint employers for purposes of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Cuff v. Trans States Holdings, Inc., 2014 U.S.App. LEXIS 18901 (7th Cir. September 19, 2014). In so doing, the court held that an employee who was on the Trans States payroll was covered by the FMLA. United contracts with firms for regional air service as “United...
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Blind Sales Representative Not Entitled To A Driver As An Accommodation

A federal court in North Carolina has ruled that a pharmaceutical company need not provide a legally blind sales representative with a driver as a reasonable accommodation. Stephenson v. Pfizer, Inc. No. 1:13cv147 (M.D.N.C. Sept. 8, 2014)   Whitney Stephenson worked for Pfizer as a pharmaceutical sales representative. Stephenson’s job required her to meet with physicians to sell Pfizer products. She typically met with eight to ten physicians a...
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This Workplace Really is Going to the Dogs

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
09/11/2014
Even under the best of circumstances, most of us view rental car counters the way we view airport security: essential to get where we are going, but not a place we want to spend more time than absolutely necessary. The circumstances of one Hawaii rental car counter as described recently in Assaturian v. Hertz Motor Corp. provide a particularly memorable, messy example of this phenomenon. John Assaturian was a long-time Hertz employee who served from...
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Teacher Who Refused Fitness-For-Duty Exam Has No Disability Accommodation Claim

Clifford Geiger
Clifford Geiger
08/18/2014
In a strange case from the district of Oregon, a Catholic preschool teacher with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (“OCD”) claimed that her employer, Sisters of St. Mary Oregon Ministries Corporation, refused to accommodate her disability.  Doby v. Sisters of St. Mary of Or. Ministries Corp., D. Or., No. 13-00977, 8/11/14 According to the court, Doby’s OCD made her believe that Mormon’s are “contaminated.” Apparently, her OCD-induced...
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Supreme Court Will Decide What Accommodations Employers Must Make for Pregnant Employees

Until recently, the United Parcel Service (UPS) utilized the well-known slogan, “What can brown do for you?” After deciding last Monday to hear Young v. UPS during its next term, the Supreme Court will be faced with the question of “what brown must do” for its pregnant employees under federal law. (The Fourth Circuit’s decision and the briefs filed in the case (to date) can be found here.) In Young, the plaintiff, Peggy Young, was covered...
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Firefighter’s Fear Of Burning Buildings Does Not Qualify As A Disability

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
06/12/2014
The Texas Supreme Court overturned a $362,000 disability discrimination judgment awarded to a captain for the City of Houston fire department who was removed from firefighting duties because his fear of entering burning buildings made him a danger to himself and others.  City of Houston v. Proler, No. 12-1006 (Tex. June 6, 2014). According to the court, no reasonable jury could have found that his fear of entering burning buildings constituted a...
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Blind Dairy Queen Employee Given “Exclusive” Job Was Reasonably Accommodated

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
06/06/2014
In a recent opinion, the Seventh Circuit reminded employers and employees that, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), qualified individuals with a disability are only entitled to a "reasonable" accommodation – they do not get to pick the accommodation. Bunn v. Khoury Enters., Inc., No. 13-2292 (7th Cir. May 28, 2014). Joshua Bunn was hired in September 2010 to work as an hourly employee at a franchised Dairy Queen store in Indiana....
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Application of University’s Inflexible Six-Month Leave Policy Found Lawful

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
06/03/2014
  How much leave must an employer provide its employees who are on disability leave? Six-months? Nine-months? An indefinite amount? Employers often consider this question in the context of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. Last week, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals weighed in on the issue in Hwang v. Kansas State University, No. 13-3070 (10th Cir. May 29, 2014). In Hwang, the Court considered whether an...
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City Not Required to Accommodate Employee’s Financial Stresses Under the ADA

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
05/07/2014
An employee’s potential increased day-care costs are not a pregnancy-related condition requiring accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to a federal district judge in Minnesota.  As a result, a city police department was not required to accommodate a request by a pregnant employee for a swapped time-shift.  McCarty v. City of Eagan, No. 0:12-cv-02512 (D. Minn. Apr. 28, 2014). Brea McCarty worked her way up to the...
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