Disability Discrimination

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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

WEBINAR 16 March 2020: Addressing Coronavirus Practically and Legally: What US Employers Need to Know

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), commonly known as the “coronavirus,” is now impacting employers all across the US.  Every organization should have a plan of action in place concerning the coronavirus as the threat of an outbreak at your workplace cannot be ignored. Please join us for a live webinar on Monday, March 16, 2020 … Continue Reading

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – Legal Issues in the US

Although the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), commonly referred to as the “coronavirus,” remains a developing situation, it has begun affecting the US in major ways.  With cases now reported throughout the US, every organization should have a plan of action in place concerning the coronavirus.  Although every business faces unique considerations, a cross-disciplinary team of … 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

Update: Obesity as a Disability in the Ninth Circuit (US)

As we previously reported here, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the Washington Supreme Court have been wrestling with whether obesity qualifies as a disability under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (“WLAD”). The dispute involves an applicant for a position with a railway company who sued in 2010, alleging that the … Continue Reading

Pandemic or Pandemonium? Employers Brace for the Coronavirus (US)

You can’t escape the panic spreading through mass and social media regarding the 2020 Wuhan Novel Coronavirus, a virus that has resulted in fatalities in China and infected thousands worldwide. Symptoms mimic that of influenza (fever, cough), but can include difficulty breathing, pneumonia, kidney failure, and death in severe cases. Despite the panic, there are … 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

Genetic Mutation Is Not A Disability under the ADA, Says Ohio Federal Court (US)

In Darby v. Childvine, a recent decision from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, the Court considered whether a genetic mutation can constitute a “disability” as that term is defined under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). In that case, the employer terminated the plaintiff/then-employee Sherryl Darby two weeks … 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

Likely lad – employee’s workplace stress disability claim revisited by EAT (UK)

Back in 2017 we posted a piece about the difference between disability and unhappiness at work. In that case, Mr Herry had been off work for over a year but still failed to establish that he was disabled. In large part this was because his absence was felt not to be the result of an … Continue Reading

Obesity Continues to Divide Courts: Washington’s High Court Says Obesity Qualifies as an Impairment (US)

As we previously discussed here and here, courts are split regarding the extent to which obesity qualifies as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The Second, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Circuit Courts of Appeal have held that obesity must be accompanied by an underlying physiological disorder for it to constitute a disability, … Continue Reading

Separating doubt from dismissal – Headmaster narrowly escapes caning in disability harassment (UK)

All the best-practice recommendations about accommodating employees with disabilities stress the importance of dialogue with them about the limitations their disability may impose and the adjustments which might be made to help overcome them. Unimpeachable advice in principle, but not without risk in practice, as it turns out.… 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

Later knowledge taints earlier dismissal – employers’ duties in appeals (UK)

You are hearing the appeal of an employee with less than two years’ service dismissed on the grounds of admitted poor conduct. What can possibly go wrong? Certainly not the seeming afterthought on the employee’s part, not mentioned at the dismissal stage, that her conduct might in part be explained by a depressive condition of … Continue Reading

Does Obesity Qualify as a Disability Under the ADA? – It Depends on Who You Ask (US)

According to the most recent data from the Center for Disease Control, more than one-third of American adults are obese.  A person is considered obese when their weight is higher than what is considered as a healthy weight for a given height.  With obesity impacting such a large portion of the American public, employers are … Continue Reading

The earth is doomed, and other reasons not to send an employee on leave (UK)

The New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal in Australia last year awarded an employee AU$20,000 in compensation for pain and suffering where her employer forced her onto “personal leave” for assumed mental illness based on her discussion of conspiracy theories in the workplace. Though an Australian case, it contains valid lessons for UK employers … 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

Healthcare Worker’s Vaccine Refusal Not Immunized by Americans with Disabilities Act (US)

On December 7, 2018, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit unanimously held in Hustvet v. Allina Health System that an employer did not unlawfully terminate an employee who refused to receive a rubella vaccination.  The plaintiff, a healthcare specialist working with potentially vulnerable patients, requested an accommodation exempting … Continue Reading

Three New State Laws Legalize Marijuana Use, Sparking More Confusion and Igniting Further Conflict With Federal Law (US)

The mid-term elections are still on people’s minds, as recounts and run-offs for federal congressional and state gubernatorial candidates are finally wrapping up.  Meanwhile, and largely taking a media-coverage backseat to these high-profile races, many new state initiatives became law as a result of the mid-terms, three which involved legalizing marijuana for recreational or medical … Continue Reading
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