Employee Believed To Have Tampered With Drug Test Cannot Prove Disability Discrimination

A federal district judge in Oregon ruled that a Boeing employee who was terminated from his employment for tampering with his drug test could not advance his claims for disability discrimination and retaliation past summary judgment.  The case, Kelly v. The Boeing Company (D. Or. Aug. 15, 2019), reaffirms the general principle that an employer is not liable for discrimination where it holds a good faith belief of a lawful basis for its termination,...
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D.C. Court of Appeals Finds That Perceived-Disability Discrimination Claim May Succeed

Anti-discrimination laws often protect both individuals with actual disabilities and those whose employer perceives (regards) as disabled.  Whether an employer perceives an employee as disabled, however, can be a complicated matter, as a case decided last week by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals illustrates.  Abdul-Azim v. Howard University Hospital, No. 17-CV-453 (D.C. Ct. App. 8/1/19). Abdul-Azim worked as a cardiology...
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Seventh Circuit Weighs In On Obesity Disability Debate

In general, federal appellate courts addressing obesity claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) have held that absent an underlying physiological disorder, obesity is not a disability. However, EEOC guidance suggests, and some lower courts have concluded, that morbid obesity alone is an impairment under the ADA. In a recent case, Richardson v. Chicago Transit Authority, Nos. 17-3508 and 18-2199 (7th Cir. 6/12/19), the Seventh Circuit...
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Know The Essential Functions of the Jobs In Your Workplace

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
02/01/2019
The essential functions of a job are those duties that an employee must be able to perform, with or without reasonable accommodation.   The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) advises that employers should consider the following factors to determine whether a function is essential: whether the position exists to perform the function; the number of other employees available to perform the function or among whom the performance of the...
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Kentucky Court Holds That State Law Does Not Permit Associational Discrimination Claims

Nearly two weeks ago, in a post on associational discrimination claims, I pointed out that while these claims may be relatively uncommon, they are still possible under the ADA and Maryland law. By contrast, last week, a Kentucky state court held that the Kentucky Civil Rights Act (KCRA) does not encompass associational discrimination claims.  The case is Barnett v. Central Kentucky Hauling, LLC, No. 2017-CA-001746-MR (Ky. Ct. App. Dec. 21,...
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Associational Discrimination Claims: Are They Viable?

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
12/14/2018
Unlike cases of discrimination based on an employee’s own protected status, there seem to be far fewer claims of discrimination based on an employee’s relationship with a protected individual.  But this did not stop a former county courthouse employee from filing a lawsuit last December claiming that her termination from the Marion Superior Court in Indianapolis violated the association provision of the ADA.  Amber Bridges v. City of...
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Jury Decides That Mercedes Benz Did Not Deliver The Best To A Former Employee With Cancer

A Mercedes Benz dealership in Seattle violated the Americans With Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) and Washington state disability law when it denied its finance director the chance to return to work after his surgery for vocal chord cancer.  The federal jury awarded the employee nearly $5 million. Troy Coachman worked for Seattle Auto Management, Inc. as a finance director.  His lawsuit alleges he was a top producer, generating...
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Understanding Telework as a Reasonable Accommodation

Clifford Geiger
Clifford Geiger
09/23/2018
Handling employee requests to telework can be tricky, especially when the request is accompanied by a doctor’s note recommending the employee work at home all or most of the time. But just providing a doctor’s note does not entitle an employee to work at home.  An employer needs enough information to understand whether teleworking is a reasonable accommodation, and this means both the employer and employee must engage in the interactive...
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Yet Another Example of Oversharing Gone Wrong

Brief Quiz here:   What personal medical information you learn from a subordinate employee should you share with others on social media?  If your answer is “none, under any circumstances,” congratulations – you need read no further.  If your answer is “well, maybe it depends, because people might need to know…” then I have a story for you. A recent lawsuit filed in New Jersey state court is a good reminder of why being an over-sharer...
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A Good Walk Spoiled: Golf Outing Sinks FMLA Claim

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
05/07/2018
Honest belief” cases can be difficult for an employer to win on summary judgment.  The concept is that, even if the employer was wrong, it honestly believed that an employee should have been fired, so there was no intent to discriminate.  FMLA honest belief cases are among the most interesting. On one hand, there are lots of things an employee on FMLA leave may still be able to do while complying with the requirements of his or her leave.  You...
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