Tag Archives: ADA

Medical Information Addendum: The EEOC Weighs In

Just last week I posted an article discussing what sort of information an individual needs to give to their employer when they are suffering from a medical issue.  In that article, I noted that many employers request very broad releases, sometimes requesting access to any and all medical information on the employee.  Well this week the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed suit against a Minnesota company for this exact issue!  (hat tip to the Employer Handbook for pointing out the press release)  Hit the jump for the details… Continue reading

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Filed under Americans with Disabilities Act, Discrimination

Missouri Court Rules Discrimination Does Not Require A Specific, Discrete Adverse Employment Action

In Missouri, in order to make a claim for discriminatory harassment, the individual has to be able to show four things:

  1. The individual is a member of a protected class (race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, disability, or age);
  2. The individual suffered harassment related to their protected class;
  3. The harassment occurred because the individual belonged to the protected class; and
  4. A “term, condition, or privilege” of the individual’s employment was affected by the harassment.

The question faced in a recent Missouri appellate decision is whether the fourth requirement can be met even in a scenario where someone has not suffered from one specific act that caused economic harm. Fuchs v. Dept. of Revenue, WD77155 (Mo. App. W.D. Aug. 26, 2014).  Hit the jump for the details… Continue reading

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Filed under Discrimination, Missouri

Medical Information: What do I have to share with my employer?

When medical issues affect your work life it is natural to want to keep your health information as private as possible.  Often, employers will request that the individual sign an incredibly broad release that would grant them access to basically all of an individual’s health information which is far beyond what the law requires.  However, when deciding what information to share with your employer, bear in mind that there are some minimum standards of disclosure that must be met in order to claim protection under federal law.  This post will examine two cases, one under the Family Medical Leave Act and one under the Americans with Disabilities Act, where an individual shared information but the courts decided it wasn’t enough.  Fortunately, in most situations there is a balance that can be achieved between protecting your information and protecting your job. Continue reading

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Filed under Americans with Disabilities Act, Discrimination, Family Medical Leave Act, Uncategorized

Charter Schools and Discriminatory Admissions

New (or renewed) guidance from the U.S. Department of Education, combined with a new coalition of civil rights groups filing lawsuits against charters in several states, have placed new scrutiny on the admissions practices of charter schools.  As Missouri, and other states, continue to expand their reliance on charter schools for providing public education now is a good time to review some of the legal dangers unique to charter education.  Hit the jump for a quick and dirty overview of a few of these developments…  Continue reading

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Filed under Discrimination, Education, Uncategorized

Disability Accommodations – When is Attendance “Essential”??

When an individual is suffering from a disability, as defined in the American’s with Disabilities Act, their employer is required to work with them to find a reasonable accommodation that would allow them to complete all of the “essential duties” of their job.  If the individual cannot complete all of the essential duties then they could be terminated even though they have a disability.  Therefore, determining what qualifies as “essential” is a crucial step in the accommodation process.

While courts will generally look to a number of sources to determine what duties are essential to any given job (job descriptions, time sheets, etc.), there are some aspects of work that are nearly always considered to be essential.  Attendance at work is one of these aspects that courts will almost always accept as being “essential” without much further analysis.  However,  a recent decision from a federal court in Indiana shows that courts may be willing to analyze how essential attendance is on a case-by-case basis.  See E.E.O.C. v. AT&T Co., Case No. 1:12-cv-00402-TWP-DKL (S.D. Ind., Nov. 20, 2013).  This case could be useful for anyone whose disability affects their ability to routinely attend work. Continue reading

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Filed under Americans with Disabilities Act, Uncategorized

Need a Disability Accommodation? Make Sure You Ask for Everything

Most of the people that I work with are aware that the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) allows employees to request modifications to their employment so that they an continue to work.  However, often they are less clear on what sort of modifications they can request and what work responsibilities they must still be able to complete.  A trio of recent cases demonstrate why it is important to make your request for accommodations as broad and all-encompassing as possible… Continue reading

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Filed under Americans with Disabilities Act

What exactly is a “Hostile Work Environment”?

In my experience, the prohibitions on “hostile work environment” and “harassment” are some of the most misunderstood by individuals not in the legal field.  Unlike many areas of law where archaic latin terms are used to describe legal ideas (“mens rea” or “habeus corpus” anyone?), both of these take normal everyday words and press them into service as specific legal terms.  Therefore, while we can all understand when someone is feeling harassed or that their workplace is hostile, determining when legal rights have been violated is far more complex.  Hit the jump for a look at four (count ’em four!) cases that investigate the gamut of “hostile work environment” and “harassment” law.  Continue reading

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Filed under Discrimination, Uncategorized

Schizophrenia and ADA Accommodations

Individuals with mental disorders face unique difficulties when it comes to seeking the protections and benefits of the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The definition of “disability” under the ADA explicitly includes “mental impairments” that substantially limit one or more major life activities but it can be much harder for someone suffering from a mental illness to demonstrate such a limitation.  If you add in employer skepticism and the general cultural stigma in relation to mental illness,  you begin to see the additional challenges confronting individuals with mental disabilities.  However, a recent case from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals provides a good example of what protections these individuals can receive to protect their employment.  See McMillan v. City of New York, 711 F.3d 120 (2d Cir. 2013).

Hit the jump for all the details… Continue reading

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Filed under Americans with Disabilities Act, Discrimination

FMLA and Adult Children

Even though the Family Medical Leave Act officially turned 20 years old last month there continue to be issues requiring clarification from the courts and the Department of Labor.  Most recently, the DoL issued some administrative guidance on FMLA leave for adult children.  The FMLA provides time off to care for children who are either under 18 years of age or who are older than 18 and are “incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.”  Unfortunately, this definition left a number of open questions, such as, is the FMLA definition of disability the same as the Americans with Disabilities Act definition?  does it matter when the disability began?  and what is the intersection of “serious health condition” under the FMLA and “disability” under the ADA?

Before moving on, I just want to take a moment, yet again, to advertise the FMLA video I put together.  If you are not familiar with the basic requirements, check out that video and then come back for more information on this complicated topic.

For all the nitty-gritty of the DoL guidance, hit the jump… Continue reading


Filed under Americans with Disabilities Act, Family Medical Leave Act

Unpaid Medical Leave – How Long Is Too Long?

While many employees are aware that they are guaranteed 12 weeks of unpaid leave for serious health conditions under the Family Medical Leave Act (and if they aren’t aware, they should get acquainted with the FMLA), they may not be aware that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may be able to provide additional leave to individuals with disabilities.  The ADA requires that employers provide employees with “reasonable accommodations” and courts have found that unpaid leave may be reasonable in certain circumstances.  The biggest question has been determining when the duration of leave goes from “reasonable” to become an “undue burden” that the employer need no longer provide.  The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a recent decision that examines the outer limits of leave as an ADA accommodation (and also demonstrates the power that a good union representative can have).  See Bimberg v. Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker Sch., 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 1357 (6th Cir. Jan 17, 2013) (pdf available here).

Hit the jump for the “she wanted how much leave??” moment… Continue reading

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Filed under Americans with Disabilities Act, Family Medical Leave Act