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Reasonable Accommodations/Undue Burden

New California Law Adds Protected Status Based On Hairstyle

This past week marked not only the anniversary of our Independence Day, but also the 55th anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Amidst this well-deserved fanfare, California became the first state to make hairstyle a protected status under its state anti-discrimination law, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Presently, […]

Employee Grooming Standards: Ensuring Your Policy Complies With Title VII

Last week, as many readers are likely aware, a high school wrestling referee in New Jersey ordered an African American student wrestler tocut his dreadlocksimmediately prior to a match, or else forfeit the match.  According to the referee, the dreadlocks and head covering the wrestler offered to wear violated the league’s rules.  A video of […]

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 […]

U.S. House Votes To Amend ADA’s Public Accommodations Requirements

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, […]

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 […]

Spider Bite Opens Up Major Wound for City

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 […]

Pharmacist Needled Out Of $2.6M Jury Award

A pharmacist with trypanophobia (a fear of needles, yes I had to Google that), worked for Rite Aid Corp. (and its predecessors) for 34 years.  In 2011, Rite Aid made administering immunizations an explicit job requirement for its pharmacists.  The needle-fearing pharmacist submitted medical notes about his trypanophobia which explained his blood pressure would spike, […]

Court Puts “Difficulty Sleeping” Disability Claim to Rest

This past weekend, I became a proud first-time father of a beautiful baby girl! Among the many helpful and prescient pieces of advice my wife Mikah and I received from others during her pregnancy were variations on the theme of, “Get sleep while you can.” Words of wisdom, indeed. Recently, however, a college professor argued […]

UPS Manager’s Disability Does Not Excuse Perceived Racist Comment

Christopher Schaffhauser, a white male, sued United Parcel Services (UPS) after he was demoted from manager to supervisor for saying he would hit an African-American coworker so hard it would “knock the black off him.” Schaffhauser’s lawsuit asserted race discrimination and a failure to accommodate his medical condition.  This note focuses on the ADA failure […]

No Telework Accommodation For IBS Says En Banc Sixth Circuit

Last year the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) tooted its horn with a victory when a three-judge panel on the Sixth Circuit held (2-1) that Ford Motor Company might have violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to permit an employee with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) from teleworking up to four days a […]