Employer’s Consistent Explanation for Discharging Employee Defeats Discrimination Claims

In Anderson v. Discovery Communications, 8:08-cv-02424, 2013 WL 1364345 (4th Cir. Apr. 5, 2013), the Fourth Circuit affirmed a decision from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland granting summary judgment to Discovery and a cadre of individual defendants on claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Montgomery County Human Rights Act (MCHRA), and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Though unremarkable in and of...
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Partial Deafness Not A Disability Under The ADAAA

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
04/10/2013
A Pennsylvania newspaper soundly defeated a partially deaf former employee’s claims of gender and disability discrimination in federal court.  Mengel v. Reading Eagle Co., No. 11-6151, (E.D. Pa. Mar. 28, 2013) Christine Mengel had worked at Reading Eagle Company since 1999 as a copy editor and page designer, receiving satisfactory performance evaluations between 2001 and 2008.  In 2007, Mengel became completely deaf in her left ear and developed...
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No Preferential Treatment for Pregnant Employees: Fourth Circuit Holds for Employer in Disability and Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
02/18/2013
The Fourth Circuit confirmed a delivery driver barred from working due to a pregnancy-related lifting restriction lost her claims under Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) against UPS.  Young v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., No. 11-2078, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 530 (Jan. 9, 2013). In 2006, UPS employee Peggy Young became pregnant while on leave and was given a twenty-pound lifting restriction.  The ability to...
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Maryland Court Dismisses ADAAA Claim Brought By Cop Who Can’t Run Fast

A federal court in Maryland dismissed a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by a police officer trainee who needed more than 17 minutes to run a mile and a half. LaPier v. Prince Georges County, No. 8:10-cv-02851 (2/7/13).  Rejecting the officer’s requests for a permanent light duty assignment or modification of the police department’s fitness standards, the Court held  that it was not unreasonable to require police officers to be able to...
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Employer Not Liable Under FMLA for Terminating Employee for Falsifying Reports

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
01/15/2013
A former FedEx mail courier sued the global delivery service company after being terminated for falsifying delivery records following her return from leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.  Kimberly Laing, a twenty-one year employee, claimed FedEx terminated her in retaliation for taking FMLA leave and failed to restore her to an equivalent position after she came back.  The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed summary...
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“Laid Off” and “Terminated” are Valid Escalator Positions Under USERRA

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
12/07/2012
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) contains an “escalator principle” which requires that employers place service members returning to work into the position the service member would have had but for his or her service–the “escalator position.”  In other words, if an employee would have been a supervisor had he not been called to active duty, USERRA requires that the employee be placed into that...
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Paid Sick Leave for Maryland’s Private Sector Employees Could Be Proposed in 2013

Now that flu season is upon us, employers can expect the usual uptick in employees calling out sick.  And in Maryland, while most larger employers offer paid  sick leave, many small businesses do not.  According to the Institute of Women’s Policy Research, forty percent of Maryland’s private sector workers, or nearly 820,000 employees, do not receive time off with pay for being sick. However, Maryland might soon require all employers to offer...
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Employee Tagged Partying in Facebook Photos Loses FMLA Case

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
11/12/2012
An employee who was terminated after captured drinking and partying in Facebook photographs failed on her claims of Family and Medical Leave Act interference and retaliation.  The Sixth Circuit affirmed that the employer was justified in its honest belief that the festival-attending employee was absent fraudulently from work.  Jaszczyszyn v. Advantage Health Physician Network, No. 11-1697 (6th  Cir. Nov. 7, 2012). Sara Jaszczyszyn began working...
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Four More Years: What Does Obama's Reelection Mean for Employers?

With the results of the Presidential election now in, its time to answer a question I’ve heard from a number of clients today: what does President Obama’s reelection mean for employers?  The short answer: you can expect to see a lot of blog posts from us about aggressive enforcement initiatives by the NLRB, DOL, EEOC, and other enforcement agencies.  In this post, I’ll give you a high level overview of what I think we are going to see. NLRB:...
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Tenth Circuit Holds that ADA Title II Does Not Apply to Employment Claims

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
09/14/2012
There is a Circuit split regarding whether Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to employment discrimination claims.  Compare Zimmerman v. Oregon DOJ, 170 F.3d 1169, 1182–84 (9th Cir. 1999) (does not) with Bledsoe v. Palm Beach Cty. Soil & Water Conservation Dist., 133 F.3d 816 (11th Cir. 1998) (does too).  In the 1990s, other Circuits generally applied Title II to employment discrimination claims without analysis. ...
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