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...read more
Kollman & Saucier
The Eleventh Circuit held this past week that an employee couldn’t show disability discrimination when Chipotle fired her for violating its zero-tolerance inebriation policy, despite evidence that the employee’s conduct was a result of prescription medication taken for a disability. Caporicci v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., No. 16-13494 (11th Cir. 4/5/18). In this case, Plaintiff Caporicci was hired by Chipotle in July 2012. After a year of...read more
Kollman & Saucier
This past Thursday, the House of Representatives passed (by a vote of 225 to 192) the “ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017.” The bill is designed predominantly to alter the procedures that must be followed concerning alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by public accommodations such as restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, and shopping malls. Since 1990, the ADA has barred public accommodations from depriving any...read more
Ketryn Cornell is an obese woman who was fired from the Berkley Tennis Club (the “Club”) after working there for fifteen years. In May 2012, when Rigoberto Headley became the Club’s general manager, Cornell was five feet, five inches tall and weighed over 350 pounds. Headley told Cornell that he wanted to change the Club’s image, and that staff members would be required to wear uniforms. Cornell mentioned to Headley that finding a...read more
A federal court in West Virginia recently held that an employer is not required to grant an indefinite leave of absence as an accommodation under a state disability discrimination law. Davis v. Universal Cable Holdings, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:16-cv-06526, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 183881 (S.D. W. Va. Nov. 6, 2017). The case involved Ronald Davis, who worked as a Broad Band Technician for Universal Cable Holdings, Inc. (“Universal Holdings). His...read more
In A Surprising ADA Plot Twist, The Seventh Circuit Affirms Additional Leave Is Not Always The Answer!
Employers with employees on leave often wrestle with the situation where the employee has exhausted all leave available under policy and statute, but are still not able to return to work and seek additional time off, usually supported by a doctor's note. While the FMLA or similar statutory leave may no longer be available, I know I am often discussing with my clients whether further leave should be offered due to potential reasonable accommodation...read more
Remember when President George W. Bush, when discussing nuclear weapons, pronounced the word “nuclear” as “nucular”? It is probably no surprise that reading ability is important when it comes to those who work with nuclear materials. It is also unsurprising that a reasonable accommodation may be appropriate for someone who works with nuclear materials, but who also has a disability. In Sanchez v. U.S. Dep’t of Energy, No. 16-2056 (10th Cir....read more
Healthcare in the U.S. is a hard issue. And it’s expensive too. Ok, you know that. Years ago, some employers concluded that one way to reduce healthcare costs was to figure out who might get really sick and then either not hire them, or fire them. Really a bad idea, and one that led to passage of the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) and similar state laws. So, many employers looked to more “benign” ways to encourage...read more
Kollman & Saucier
Reminding us of the importance of lawful employment policies (and sticking to them!), the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee recently decided that an African-American former employee may proceed with his Title VII retaliation and ADA failure to accommodate claims against the City of Lewisburg, Tennessee. La’Monn Harris v. The City of Lewisburg, Tennessee et al, No. 1:15-cv-00114, 2017 BL 265703 (M.D. Tenn. July 31,...read more
It is no secret that attendance at work is an essential function of most jobs. As explained by a recent decision from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, Punt v. Kelly Servs., No. 16-1026 (10th Cir. July 6, 2017), an employee’s failure to just show up can be fatal to failure to accommodate claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The case involved a temporary employee for Kelly Services (Kelly) who was assigned to work at GE...read more
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