Blog Posts: ADA
Beginning January 30, 2014, employers with more than four workers must provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees and new mothers under the New York City Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (NYCPWFA). The amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) broadens existing employer accommodation requirements with respect to employee pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employment discrimination based on employees' disabilities. In doing so, it requires that employers provide "reasonable accommodations" — modifications to the workplace or the job — to allow employees with disabilities to perform their jobs. Generally, the ADA has been interpreted to require that employers provide only those accommodations with a connection to the essential functions an employee's job. However, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a ruling with a much broader interpretation of "reasonable accommodation" that should have employers taking a closer look at accommodation requests.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued new guidance on how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to employees with cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, and intellectual disabilities. The revised materials explain what employees with these conditions must show to establish they have a disability and how employers should handle such situations. Specifically, each guide discusses the implications of harassing and/or discriminating against employees with these particular disabilities, when employers may use and disclose medical information relating to these disabilities, and how employers can accommodate employees with these disabilities.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers must make reasonable accommodations for an employee with an impairment or disability. Although compliance may seem an onerous task at first, employers can accommodate these employees successfully. The following are general tips for accommodating an employee with disabilities:
The number of job-related disability claims filed with the EEOC increased in 2102 for the seventh year in a row. A total of 26,379 employment disability claims were filed in fiscal year 2012 under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), up from 25,742 in 2011 and 14,893 in 2005.
Trucking firm Interstate Distributor Company recently agreed to pay $4.85 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that alleged that Interstate had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC claimed that Interstate had a policy requiring the automatic termination of employees who could not fully resume their duties after taking a 12-week leave of absence.
Employers relying on a medical opinion to fire an employee should know that the Equal Employment Opportunity commission (EEOC) does not consider all medical opinions to be equally valid. After drugstore chain Rite Aid fired an employee with epilepsy, the EEOC sued, claiming that the firing violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Even though an occupational health doctor had examined the employee and pronounced him unfit for duty, the EEOC claimed that Rite Aid ignored evidence from a more qualified medical specialist. Rite Aid agreed to pay a quarter of a million dollars to settle the case, which also involved allegations of retaliation.
In a case that overturned precedent, the Seventh Circuit recently held that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may require employers to reassign employees who cannot be accommodated in their current position to vacant positions for which they are qualified, as long as doing so would be reasonable and not an undue hardship.
The ADA generally does not require an employer to allow a disabled employee to work at home. However, there may be exceptions. A recent case in federal court in Ohio ruled that an employer can’t dismiss such requests out of hand as unreasonable. Instead, the ultimate determination of reasonableness is a question for the fact-finder.
Locating an employee who has seasonal affective disorder near exterior windows can be a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to a federal court.