Diabetic Employee May Have Right to Snack on Employer's Products as Reasonable Accomodation

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
04/17/2014
According to a federal court in California, a jury should decide whether the drugstore giant Walgreens violated federal law by firing a diabetic worker who opened a bag of chips during an alleged hypoglycemic attack without first paying for them.  EEOC v. Walgreen Co., No. 3:11-cv-04470 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 11, 2014). Josefina Hernandez (“Hernandez”), a cashier at Walgreens’ South San Francisco store, was on duty when she opened a $1.39 bag of...
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Parental Leave Act Passed by Maryland General Assembly

The 2014 session of the Maryland General Assembly came to a close Monday night, ending a 90-day term in which state lawmakers passed numerous laws, including legislation raising the state’s minimum wage.  Maryland’s minimum wage will increase to $8/hour on January 1, 2015, and gradually rise to $10.10/hour in 2018. Included among the State’s new laws is the Parental Leave Act, which requires certain employers to provide unpaid parental leave...
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Reasonable Accommodation Obligation Does Not Give Deaf Employee Right to Be a Bully

A recent opinion out of  the Fourth Circuit  Court of Appeals provides a good reminder:  sometimes, no matter what their "protected status," an employee’s behavior warrants dismissal.  In Pearlman v. Pritzker, No. 13-1563 (4th Cir. Apr. 3, 2014), the Fourth Circuit concluded that a federal agency lawfully fired an insubordinate employee who had a "black-list" and was known for angry outbursts. Michael Pearlman was hired by the National Oceanic...
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Scales (Of Justice) Tip In Favor Of Employer On Overweight Employee's ADA Claims

The trend on overweight, obese and other weight-afflicted individuals claiming some category of employment discrimination (almost always disability-based) continues to increase.   There have been mixed results so far with the EEOC, not surprisingly, doing its part to ensure that the overweight individuals of America are considered disabled by one means or another.  Thankfully, some of the courts that have been presented with the chance to dig into...
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Fourth Circuit FindsTemporary Impairment Covered by ADAAA

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
02/01/2014
It was pretty clear under the ADA that a temporary impairment was not a covered “disability.” But that was before Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (the “ADAAA”) in 2008, expanding the scope of protection.   Now, the Fourth Circuit has become the first appellate court to address the issue of “temporary impairment” under the ADAAA. Summers v. Altarum Inst., Corp., (4th Cir. January 23, 2014). Reversing...
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Nursing Home's Limited Accommodations Deemed Unlawful Pregnancy Discrimination

The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently held that a nursing home’s policy of accommodating only restrictions from work-related incidents could be pretext for pregnancy discrimination.  Latowski v. Northwoods Nursing Center, No. 12-2408 (6th Cir. Dec. 23, 2013). Jennifer Latowski was employed as a certified nursing assistant (“CNA”) by Northwoods Nursing Center in Michigan.  Her doctor recommended a 50-pound lifting...
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Excavator Operator With Prosthetic Leg May Be Entitled To Reinstatement Under ADA

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
12/23/2013
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that an excavator operator with a prosthetic leg may be entitled to reinstatement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if he can perform the essential functions of his position safely.  Henschel v. Clare Cnty. Rd. Comm’n, No. 13-1528 (6th Cir. December 13, 2013). Wayne Henschel began working as an excavator operator for the Clare County Road Commission (CCRC) in 2007.  In August 2009,...
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Michigan Court Reffirms That ADA Requires Individualized Inquiry

Clifford Geiger
Clifford Geiger
12/14/2013
This week a federal court in Michigan reinforced the ADA's requirement that employers conduct an “individualized inquiry” to determine whether an applicant or employee with a disability can perform the essential functions of a job.  LaFata v. Dearborn Heights Sch. Dist. No.7, E.D. Mich., No. 2:13-cv-10755, 12/11/13 Adam LaFata applied for the position of Plant Engineer with Dearborn Heights School District No. 7.  He had worked as a building...
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Appellate Court Rejects Use of Title II of the ADA to Sue for Discrimination In Public Employment

As regular readers of The Employment Brief are aware, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides the basis for many lawsuits filed by current and former employees.  In the employment law arena, plaintiffs usually rely upon Title I of the ADA, which specifically prohibits employment discrimination based on a persons’ disability.  42 U.S.C. 12112(a). Government employees, however, sometimes rely upon Title II of the ADA when filing suit...
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Exhaustion of FMLA Leave with No Return Date Dooms Plaintiff’s Claims

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
11/18/2013
In Owens v. Calhoun County School District, No. 12-60897 (Oct. 8, 2013), the Fifth Circuit upheld a district court’s granting of summary judgment to an employer on a former employee’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claim. Karen Darlene Mann Owens taught at Bruce Upper Elementary School in Mississippi for seventeen years until she was fired in February 2010.  Owens suffered from neck and back pain, conditions which worsened over the...
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