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Showing 9 posts in Reasonable Accomodation.

Retroactive Accommodations to Excuse Past Misconduct Not Required under the ADA

Envision a situation where you are about to terminate an employee for violating a work conduct rule. Sensing what is coming, the employee explains to you her disability caused her to violate the rule.  Are you required to accommodate under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and forgo termination? The answer is no. More ›

Employee’s Inability to Meet Job’s Attendance Requirements Divests Her of ADA Protections Sixth Circuit Holds

The converging paths of the Family Medical Leave Act’s (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ranks among the most difficult legal issues for employers to safely traverse. Employers should think twice before terminating an employee who cannot return to work after 12 weeks of FMLA leave. This is because courts across the country have held that additional leave may be a necessary reasonable accommodation under the ADA. The question then becomes, how much additional leave does one need to provide an employee before he or she is no longer protected by the ADA. More ›

Haze Lifting on Employer's Rights and Medical Marijuana

The fast expansion of the medical marijuana movement has brought with it growing confusion on the line between a workers' rights to take advantage of the rights afforded by these state statutes and an employer's right to enforce its anti-drug policies. Last week, a New Mexico District Court decision added to the recent list of decisions to tackle this issue and, in doing so, came down on the side of the employer. More ›

The EEOC's Battlecry: Cracking down hard on Religious Discrimination

On the heels of the biggest religious discrimination case in years, and in line with the EEOC's "hottest litigation trend" (according to David Lopez, General Counsel of the EEOC, pictured right), the EEOC continued its charge against religious discrimination in the workplace in EEOC v. Star Transport Co., Inc.. Last week, a Northern District of Illinois jury awarded two Muslim truck drivers $240,000 finding Start Transport fired them for refusing to transport alcohol despite their religious beliefs. More ›

First Circuit Confirms Importance of Good Faith Interactive Process

The First Circuit Court of Appeals has given us yet another case demonstrating the importance of not only engaging in the interactive process, but doing so in good faith.

In Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Kohl's Department Stores, Inc., No. 14-1268 (1st Cir. December 19, 2014), the employee, Pamela Manning worked a fairly predictable schedule as a sales associate. Later, the store restructured its staffing system which led to Manning's scheduled hours becoming more unpredictable. She therefore informed her supervisor that she could not work erratic shifts because it aggravated her diabetes, and subsequently brought in a doctor's note to that effect, requesting a predictable day shift. More ›

Being on time to work may be Essential Function of Position

A city case manager had schizophrenia but was taking medication on a calibrated schedule. The employer had a flex-time policy which allowed employees to arrive at work anytime within a one hour window in the morning. If an employee was late, the supervisor had to approve or disprove the tardiness. The employee often could not get to work within that window of time due to his medication, and for roughly ten years, the employer excused such tardiness and allowed him to arrive later. Subsequently, however, the supervisor ceased approving the late arrivals. The employee repeatedly requested that he be permitted to arrive later so that he would not be disciplined for tardiness, but his supervisor would not allow it. His doctor recommended that his medication schedule not be altered at that time, which made it difficult for him to arrive earlier. The supervisor then recommended disciplinary action against the employee for his long history of tardiness, and at a grievance hearing, the City recommended his termination. The union representative argued that the employee’s mitigating circumstances (the disability) should be considered. The employee then made formal requests for accommodation to arrive at work later, and a higher-level supervisor denied the request without talking to the employee. He was then suspended for 30 days without pay as a sanction for his tardiness.  More ›

Thirteen Month gap Between Protected Activity and Alleged Retaliation Leads To Summary Judgment For Employer

In Anderson v. Donahoe, a U.S. Postal Service employee suffered from asthma. The employee claimed his employer failed to accommodate his disability which allegedly arose due to flare ups of his condition that he experienced while working as a part-time mail processor. For seven years, from 2002 through 2009, the employee filed multiple complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in addition to union grievances, requesting a reasonable accommodation of his disability. During the same seven-year period, the employee had extended periods of absences from work. The employee sued his employer claiming that it had violated the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Rehabilitation Act. The trial court granted the employer summary judgment. The employee appealed. The Seventh Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed the granting of summary judgment against the employee. More ›

Seventh Circuit: ADA Requires Employer to Reassign Disabled Employee to Vacant Position

On September 7, 2012, in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. United Airlines, Inc., No. 1101774 (Sept. 7, 2012), the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals adopted a new standard for determining when a disabled employee must be reassigned to a vacant position pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. (ADA) More ›

EEOC Holds Public Hearing on Leave as a Reasonable Accommodation

On June 8, 2011, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) considered the use of leave as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by assembling a diverse panel of experts to voice their opinions. Under the ADA, an employer must provide a disabled employee with reasonable accommodations that will allow him or her to perform the essential functions of the job. However, an employer does not need to provide accommodations that subject it to an undue hardship. When disabled employees request a leave of absence as a reasonable accommodation, employers are faced with the question of how much leave they must provide in order to comply with the ADA. That question often arises when a disabled employee exhausts all available leave time and is still not able to return to work. At the June 8 hearing, representatives for employers expressed their view that attendance itself can be an “essential function of the job” and that unplanned or extended absences are difficult for employers to manage. Employee representatives responded that leave is a critical accommodation that allows many disabled employees to stay in the workforce, and that the “entire purpose of the leave is vitiated if the employee recovers but is terminated or otherwise barred from returning to work.” The EEOC’s dominant message was that employers need to be flexible when applying their leave policies to disabled employees and that employers which enforce a bright line rule requiring a disabled employee to return to work or be terminated when his/her available leave is exhausted could be exposing themselves to liability under the ADA. Employers should instead analyze whether extended leave is a reasonable accommodation in the same way that they would analyze any other request for accommodation — by performing a individualized analysis to determine whether the accommodation is required by the ADA (i.e., whether the extended leave will allow the employee to perform the essential functions of the job without subjecting the employer to an undue hardship). The EEOC plans to issue updated guidance on when extended leave is warranted under the ADA, potentially by the end of this summer.

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