Court Finds Odor Sensitivity May Be Disability under ADAAA

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
11/15/2013
It seems like even the most minor ailment can make an employee “disabled” under the ADA these days.  For example, in 2010, the City of Detroit paid $100,000 to settle an accommodation claim raised by a “chemically sensitive” city worker who alleged that a coworker’s perfume and room deodorizer caused her to experience migraines, nausea and coughing.  McBride v. City of Detroit, No. 2:07-cv-12794 (E.D. Mich. 2010).  Last week, an...
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ADA Does Not Require Reasonable Accommodation To Be Related To Essential Function

In Feist v. Louisiana, No. 12-31065 (5th Cir. Sept. 16, 2013), the Fifth Circuit concluded that a former employee of the Louisiana Department of Justice (LDOJ) was not required to demonstrate that she needed a designated parking spot in order to perform an essential job function. Pauline Feist, a former assistant attorney general for the LDOJ, sued her former employer under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), alleging that the LDOJ...
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Termination Letter Citing Employee’s “Medical Reasons” Was Direct Evidence Of Disability Discrimination

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
09/27/2013
A Tennessee federal district court granted summary judgment to an employee on his disability discrimination claim based on a letter confirming that he was terminated for “medical reasons.”  Lovell v. Champion Car Wash, 3:12-00254 (M.D. Tenn. September 3, 2013).  This case is the epitome of how an employer’s untrained approach to employment issues can be damaging. Mr. Lovell worked for a car wash company (Champion), and because of his medical...
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Measuring Equality For All

Peter Saucier
Peter Saucier
08/30/2013
For years Americans have strived to protect individuals with disabilities and veterans from discrimination.  If you can do the job, and do it well, you ought not be disadvantaged by a physical or mental impairment that does not interfere with your ability to do the job.  Moreover, if you served your country in the military you ought not be treated unfairly. Now, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, a division of the Department of...
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Legal Pot Smoking Not Protected by Disability Discrimination Law

Clifford Geiger
Clifford Geiger
08/29/2013
According to a federal court in Colorado, having a prescription for medical marijuana does not excuse a failed drug test.   Curry v. MillerCoors, Inc., Docket No. 1:12-cv-02471 (D. Colo. Sept 17, 2012) Paul Curry worked for MillerCoors, Inc.  According to his complaint, Mr. Curry suffers from hepatitis C, osteoarthritis and pain, and he is licensed by the State of Colorado to use medical marijuana pursuant to that state’s Medical Marijuana...
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Fired Employee Files Suit Claiming Obesity Is A Disability Under ADA

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
07/26/2013
A former employee filed suit in federal court against a Missouri car dealership last week claiming he was fired for being severely obese.  Whittaker v. America’s Car-Mart, Inc., No. 1:13-cv-00108, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. Plaintiff Joseph Whittaker claims that America’s Car Mart, Inc. violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it fired him because of his weight, taking the position that his severe...
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“Election of Remedies” Clause Constitutes Per Se Retaliation, Getting Employer and Union in Trouble

Employers sometimes have policies that, while they seem sensible, run afoul of the law.  One such area is in the investigation of discrimination claims.  Some employers have a policy that says something like “we will investigate a concern that you bring to our attention, but we will stop doing that if you go file with the EEOC.  Then we will let the EEOC investigate.  The reasoning behind the policy is that it will avoid a duplication of...
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Passive Aggressive Disorder Not A Covered Disability

A California federal district court has held that “passive-aggressive disorder” is not a disability under California’s anti-discrimination law,  a statute that defines disability more broadly than does the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA).  Gliha v. Butte-Glenn Cmty. Coll. Dist,  2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84266 (E.D. Cal. June 14, 2013). Gliha had been the executive director of development at the Community College for...
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Maryland Employers Required To Provide “Light Duty” And Other Reasonable Accommodations For Pregnant Temporarily Disabled Employees

One of the biggest changes coming to Maryland employers with 15 or more employees will last more than 9 months.   Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law the requirement that employers provide to pregnant employees certain reasonable accommodations beyond those presently required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA).  Under the Reasonable Accommodations for Disabilities Due to Pregnancy Act,...
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Have A Coke And A Smile . . . And A Fitness For Duty Evaluation

In a recent decision, the Eleventh Circuit concluded that the Coca-Cola Company acted lawfully when it required an employee to undergo a “fitness for duty” evaluation where the inquiry was both job-related and consistent with business necessity.  Owusu-Ansah v. Coca-Cola Co., No. 11-13663 (11th Cir. May 8, 2013) Franklin Owusu-Ansah began working for Coca-Cola in 1999 at the company’s Dunwoody, Georgia call center.  Owusu-Ansah performed...
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