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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It’s Baaack! The FMLA Notice Conundrum Returns to the Seventh Circuit

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
02/11/2020
When I speak or provide training on the FMLA, I often start by apologizing on behalf of Congress and the Department of Labor.  Congress, for creating a law the way you design a horse by committee (it comes out looking like a camel); the DOL for implementing regulations that you need legal expertise to follow and get right (and even then it is sometimes a crap shoot). For sure, the toughest FMLA area for employers is accommodating unforeseen,...
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Employer Not Required to Accommodate Diabetic Employee Who Sleeps on the Job

Bernadette Hunton
Bernadette Hunton
02/03/2020
It goes without saying that employees in any industry are generally expected to remain conscious while at work.  But what happens when an employee falls asleep on the job claiming that a disability is to blame? The Fifth Circuit in Clark v. Champion National Security, No. 18-11613 (5th Cir. 1/14/20), examined this issue, holding that it was not unlawful for an employer to discharge a sleeping employee who could not perform the essential...
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Seventh Circuit Recognizes Claim for Hostile Work Environment Based on Disability

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
11/27/2019
Earlier this month, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals joined several other federal courts of appeal by explicitly holding that a claim for hostile work environment based on disability is cognizable under the ADA.  Ford v. Marion County Sheriff’s Office, et al., No. 18-3217 (7th Cir. 11/15/19). Ford worked as a deputy for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office when she suffered a debilitating injury to her hand.  She was assigned to...
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