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A Guide for Employers Considering A Mandatory Flu Vaccination Policy (US)

As if 2020 hasn’t already presented more than its fair share of challenges, flu season is now rapidly approaching. Combined with the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, employers are more concerned than ever before with ensuring that their employees stay healthy and productive. As a result, many employers are weighing the pros and cons of encouraging, … Continue Reading

EEOC Issues Guidance Clarifying When Opioid Users are Protected From Disability Discrimination Under the ADA (US)

Opioid abuse is widespread in America and the opioid epidemic impacts people from all walks of life, which presents unique challenges for employers who want to limit the potentially adverse effects opioid use may have on their employees and their workplaces. Given the severity of the crisis, it is tempting for employers to want to … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Ruling Limits Insurer and Employer Contraceptive Obligations (US)

Earlier this month the Supreme Court of the United States upheld a regulation adopted under the Trump administration significantly cutting back the requirement that insurers and group health plans provide coverage for contraceptives without cost sharing under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).… Continue Reading

EEOC Updates COVID-19 Guidance With Answers To More Return-To-Work Questions (US)

Throughout the current public health emergency, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been providing regular updates to its guidance on COVID-19 and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other federal employment statutes (see our prior posts here). On June 11, 2020, the EEOC provided answers to approximately 10 new questions, … Continue Reading

“I Am Not Wearing That!” – What Can An Employer Do When An Employee Refuses To Comply With COVID-19 Workplace Requirements? (US)

With the reopening process well underway in all 50 states, employers are implementing a variety of plans, policies, and protocols to minimize the potential for employee transmission of the coronavirus in the workplace. These plans – discussed in our Employer’s Guide to Return-to-Work Issues – include making physical changes to the workplace, rearranging employee schedules, … Continue Reading

Navigating Employee Return-to-Work Issues (US)

On Friday, May 15, 2020, Arizona’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” order will expire. At that time, only a handful of states (Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New Jersey) will still be under broad stay-at-home restrictions, but even those remaining states will begin the phased reopening process between May 15 and 30. As employers begin … Continue Reading

EEOC Provides Updated Guidance on Return-to-Work Issues Addressing Accommodations For Employees With COVID-19 Vulnerabilities (US)

Update (5/7/20):  On May 7, 2020, the EEOC re-issued guidance concerning what actions an employer may take if it knows that an employee has a medical condition placing him/her at a higher risk for severe illness if he/she gets COVID-19, and thus is concerned about the employee’s return to the workplace, but the employee has not … Continue Reading

Employer’s Guide to Return-to-Work Issues: COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (US)

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency has changed life as we know it, including by severely disrupting business on a nationwide scale.  In some cases, employers have been forced to temporarily close their doors and cease operations, while others have had to make radical changes to the workplace in order to maintain operations. … Continue Reading

Employer’s After-the-Fact Discovery of Lack of Job Qualification Sinks Employee’s ADA Discrimination Claim (US)

Sunny Anthony worked for TRAX International as a technical writer.  During the course of her employment, she asked TRAX to accommodate her disabilities–post-traumatic stress disorder and related anxiety and depression—by letting her work from home, which TRAX denied or otherwise declined to allow.[1]   So Ms. Anthony sued TRAX, alleging that it violated the Americans with … Continue Reading

EEOC Offers Employers Post-COVID-19 Return-to-Work Pointers (US)

Since early in the pandemic, the EEOC has been maintaining a Technical Assistance Questions and Answers page, which it updates from time to time. As employers’ attention turns to life after COVID-19 and planning for our return to the workplace, on April 17, the EEOC updated its COVID-19 pandemic informal guidance to address the challenges … Continue Reading

America Reopens: What Employers Need To Be Thinking About in Light of the Guidelines

On April 16, 2020, President Trump unveiled broad new federal guidelines laying out conditions for states to begin relaxing the strict measures imposed to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The new guidance identifies the necessary circumstances for areas of the country to allow employees to start returning to work.  Trump emphasized that … Continue Reading

EEOC Reminds Employers: Antidiscrimination Laws Continue to Apply During the COVID-19 Pandemic (US)

The United States currently is experiencing an unprecedented public health emergency due to the COVID-19 virus.  The economic fallout of this crisis has been sudden and brutal on US employers, with vast numbers of businesses ordered to close and nearly 1 million new unemployment claims filed in the past two weeks alone.  In response, Congress … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Issues ADA Work-from-Home Decision, Right Before We All Start Working from Home (US)

Our colleague Justin DiCharia at Squire Patton Boggs’  Sixth Circuit Appellate Blog recently discussed the Sixth Circuit’s decision in a case involving an employee’s request to work from home as a disability accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  As Justin notes below, this decision came prior to the recent COVID-19 pandemic and the massive … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit: Obese Employee Not Disabled Under the ADA (US)

As discussed in our prior posts on obesity and disability law, there is continuing disagreement in the courts concerning whether obesity alone constitutes a disability, or whether obesity must result from a physical disease or condition in order to be a disability.  On February 27, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit … Continue Reading

Inability To Perform A Specific Job Is Not A Substantial Impairment On Ability To Work, Says Second Circuit In ADA Case (US)

In Woolf v. Strada, decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in February 2020, the court considered whether the plaintiff’s inability to perform his particular job as a result of migraines and stress arising from the circumstances surrounding his job gave rise to a qualifying disability under the Americans with Disabilities … Continue Reading

SPB In-Depth:  Service Animals as Reasonable Workplace Disability Accommodations (US)

Many individuals with disabilities use service animals to help them fully engage in everyday life.  Animals, particularly dogs, can be trained to perform a wide range of tasks to help people with disabilities, and the number of tasks these specially trained animals can perform continues to grow. As a result, more applicants and employees are … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit:  ADA Does Not Prohibit Discrimination Based on Future Impairments (US)

On October 29, 2019, railway operator Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company (“BNSF”) prevailed before the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit – which covers Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin – in a case in which the company argued that its refusal to hire an obese candidate due to an unacceptably high risk that … Continue Reading

US Supreme Court Leaves Standards of Website Accessibility Ambiguous, Vexing Businesses

Employers already are (or should be) familiar with their obligations not to discriminate against and to reasonably accommodate employees and applicants with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), which requirements are addressed in Title I of the ADA.  But the ADA also imposes additional non-employment obligations on governments and municipalities (Title II) and … Continue Reading

Don’t Stress – Anxiety May Not Always Be A Disability Under the ADA (US)

On October 22, 2019, a Tennessee federal district court dismissed a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) against West Meade Place LLP (“WMP”), a skilled nursing facility, after finding on summary judgment that the EEOC failed to establish that former WMP employee … Continue Reading

New Jersey Expands Medical Marijuana Protections: Employees Hit Big (US)

New Jersey joins the growing list of states to offer employment protections for authorized users of medical marijuana. On July 2, 2019, New Jersey’s governor signed into law the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act (“CUMCA”), providing job protections to medical marijuana users and creating new drug testing procedures for marijuana. The new law … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Issues Decision Clarifying Businesses Obligations to Persons with Disabilities (US)

Many employers are familiar with Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which sets forth employers’ obligations to disabled applicants and employees, but the ADA also imposes obligations on businesses that are places of public accommodation – and nearly all are – with respect to their patrons. A recent Ninth Circuit appellate decision, … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit: Obesity Alone Is Not A Disability Under the ADA (US)

As we previously reported here, the issue of whether obesity is a legally-protected impairment is complex, and jurisdictions differ on the extent to which they consider obesity to be a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  On June 12, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit joined the Second, … Continue Reading

State Law Round-Up: Minimum Wage Hikes (MD, NM, CA); Kentucky Pregnant Workers Act; New Jersey Employee Rights; New York Voting Leave; Salary History Bans (OH, NM) (US)

Minimum Wage Updates On March 28, 2019, Maryland’s legislators voted to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by January 1, 2025 for employers with 15 or more employees and July 1, 2026 for employers with 14 or fewer employees.… Continue Reading

Ninth and Eleventh Circuits: Reporting To Work Impaired, Failing Drug Test, And Failing To Request Accommodation Doom Employees’ ADA Discrimination Lawsuits

As most readers of this blog are aware, the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and analogous state laws prohibit employers from discriminating against qualified employees (and applicants) based on known physical or mental disabilities, and also require employers to provide those employees with reasonable accommodations for their disabilities.  Although broad in their protections, these laws … Continue Reading
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