Every Dog Has Its Day (In Court): Teacher May Go to Trial Over School’s Denial of Chihuahua at Work

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
04/11/2017
In a recent decision out of South Carolina, a federal judge ruled that a teacher may proceed to trial on her disability discrimination claim against her school district for declining to allow her Chihuahua to accompany her at work in the classroom.  Clark v. Sch. Dist. Five of Lexington & Richland Ctys., No. 3:15-cv-2664-CMC-PJG, 2017 BL 100456 (D.S.C. Mar. 29, 2017). Under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), employers have a duty...
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Employer’s Inconsistent Explanations Permits Claim To Survive Summary Judgment

A recent decision out of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Caldwell v. KHOU-TV, No. 16-20408 (5th Cir. March 6, 2017), offers an obvious, but important, reminder for employers -- provide consistent reasons for why you make employment decisions.  Be honest.  Be consistent.  Don’t make stuff up.  Otherwise, plaintiff-employees may be able to assail your explanation when and if litigation ensues.  In Caldwell, the plaintiff claimed that he was...
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EEOC Issues New Guidance on Accommodating Mental Health Disorders

Bernadette Hunton
Bernadette Hunton
01/30/2017
The EEOC issued a resource document last month that discusses employee rights in the workplace related to mental health conditions.  Below is a summary of key points: It Is Illegal to Discriminate Against an Employee Based on a Mental Health Condition. Discrimination includes, among other things, discharge, failure to hire or promote, and forced leave.  Employers are not required to hire or retain employees who pose a “direct threat” to...
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Maryland Legislative Update - The Healthy Working Families Act

Lawmakers in Maryland have attempted to pass a paid sick leave bill for a number of years.  With the General Assembly reconvening on Wednesday, the effort is being renewed this year.  Thus far, legislators have introduced House Bill 1 and House Bill 65 -- both are versions of the Healthy Working Families Act, which was introduced last session as House Bill 580.  Governor Hogan has said that he will introduce paid sick leave legislation of his...
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Court Affirms Dismissal of Vacationing Employee's FMLA Claim

On October 31st, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed a Virginia federal court's dismissal of an airline employee's FMLA retaliation claim.  The case arose when United Airlines fired the employee for using intermittent FMLA leave to excuse his failure to work the one shift he was scheduled to work during a lengthy vacation.  Sharif v. United Airlines, et. al., No. 15-1747 (4th Cir. 10/31/16). According to the court's...
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DOL Publishes Final Rule On Paid Sick Leave

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
09/30/2016
On September 29, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced its Final Rule extending paid sick leave benefits to employees of certain federal contractors and subcontractors, and which essentially implements Executive Order 13706 from September 2015.  Here are some of the main features: Employers: The Final Rule will apply to any new contract (defined as new and replacement contracts entered into on or after January 1, 2017).  Contracts and all...
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Colorado Truck Driver Fails to Climb ADA Proof Hurdle

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
07/14/2016
As courts have observed, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides a “most favored nation” status to the millions of us who have physical or mental impairments.  Though the law provides a benefit (reasonable accommodation) to disabled individuals that is not required to be given to the general public, this benefit is not without limitations.  For example, as the Tenth Circuit recently affirmed, an individual with a disability must...
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EEOC Issues New Resource Document on Leave and the ADA

Bernadette Hunton
Bernadette Hunton
05/11/2016
EEOC disability discrimination charges have reached an all time high and, according to the Commission, it’s employers who are to blame.  The charges, the EEOC says, show a "troubling trend" indicating employers may not understand the Commission’s positions on leave and the ADA. In response to these concerns, the EEOC  released a new resource document titled: Employer Provided Leave and the Americans with Disabilities Act.  While the document...
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You Weren’t Fired, You Quit!

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
05/05/2016
A United States District Court in New Jersey recently denied an employer’s motion for summary judgment where the employer argued that the employee voluntarily resigned and, therefore, that there was no adverse employment action.  Taha v. TBC Corp., No. 14-03377 (D.N.J. April 26, 2016). David Taha worked as a store manager for National Tire & Battery (NTB) in New Jersey.  Years before, he had been diagnosed with an arthritic condition.  Taha...
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Appellate Court Rules That Obesity is Not a Disability Under the ADA

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
04/08/2016
It’s no secret that there is an obesity epidemic in America.  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 1 in 3 adults (78.6 million total) are now obese.  In addition to its adverse effects on health and lifestyle, obesity also imposes tremendous financial costs: it is estimated that the average obese person incurs $1,429 more in medical costs each year than those who are of “normal” weight (BMI between 18-24.9), with a...
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