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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

Top 10 Employee Benefits Issues in a Slowing Economy (US)

The changes in the economy brought on by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), commonly known as the “coronavirus,” present challenges to employers trying to manage their greatest resource – employees. A cross-practice team involving our Tax Strategy & Benefits, Labor & Employment and Data Privacy & Security lawyers have published this alert that identifies some of … 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I firmly believe that with the right footwear one can rule the world” – dress codes and discrimination (UK)

Re-wind to May 2016 and you may recall the widely-reported story of a receptionist sent home from work without pay for wearing flat shoes in contravention of her agency’s dress code. The incident led to a joint report by the House of Commons Petitions Committee and Women and Equalities Committee, High Heels and Workplace Dress … Continue Reading

First Circuit Nixes ADA Suit Finding that Disabled Employee Was Not A “Qualified Individual” (US)

Not pulling any punches, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit recently issued a decision finding against a disabled former Burger King franchise employee, explaining that although its admittedly harsh decision was a “lesson straight out of the school of hard knocks,” “[n]o matter how sympathetic a plaintiff or how harrowing his … Continue Reading

Arizona Law Aimed at Curbing Service Dog Fraud May Be All Bark, No Bite (US)

Under federal and Arizona state law, persons with disabilities can bring service animals—all breeds of dog and miniature horses—into places of public accommodation (businesses open to the public) even if the business otherwise excludes pets. No specific training or certification program is required to qualify as a service animal, nor are such animals required to … Continue Reading

Measure Aimed At Reducing Frivolous ADA Public Accommodation Suits Passes House (US)

On February 15, 2018, the United States House of Representatives voted in favor of adopting the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017, H.R. 620, which, if approved by the Senate and signed into law, would amend the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Title III of the ADA (“Title III”) requires “places of public accommodation” … Continue Reading
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