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We know that the ADAAA (Amendments Act of 2008) substantially altered the landscape for review of claims asserting a disability. But are employees still required to show some sort of disorder or impairment to state a claim? Is morbid obesity an impairment even if it is not tied to any underlying disorder? A case pending before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals is set to decide whether obesity is an impairment in and of itself…
Just a few months ago, we wrote about a case where a federal district court denied summary judgment to an employer who had asserted that attendance at work was an essential job function. The Court held that although regular attendance at work was set out in the job description, that was not enough to obtain summary judgment. In a slight twist, today we discuss a case in which the court focused on the adequacy of…
Teenagers are not the only ones dissatisfied when their pleas of “why” are met with a “because I said so.” It turns out that courts of appeal do not care for it either. Careful readers of this space know that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may require employers to allow modified work schedules when appropriate. An issue that often arises when considering a modified work schedule is whether an employee can perform the essential…
A recently filed federal court case should serve as a reminder to employers that medical advances often make the impossible possible and, as a result, can make the unqualified qualified under ADA. Although the suit asserts a constitutional violation and not a claim under the ADA, the lesson is worth heeding by the conscientious non-governmental employer. The ADA sought to strike at the heart of stereotypes that employers may harbor about differently abled workers—whether based…
As law students learn early in first year contracts, not every statement is an enforceable promise. That point formed the basis of a recent decision from the United States District Court for the District of Vermont. See Noel v. Walmart. The case concerned the termination of a pharmacist who suffered from trypan phobia (a fear of needles that causes nausea, dizziness and fainting at the sight of a needle) because he could not administer immunizations…
Sometimes what you don’t know can help you. In Guzman v. Brown County, a 911 Dispatcher who was fired after being late repeatedly had her FMLA interference and retaliation claims sent to dreamland by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The Appeals court held that the moribund claim should stay that way because the Dispatcher could not show that she suffered from sleep apnea at the time of her termination or that the supervisor who…
You have just received an e-mail alerting you to a FIDO issue and you are wracking your brain to recall the statute for which FIDO is an acronym. Then you read on and learn the email is from your new HR specialist who seems to put everything in “caps” and the question is about dogs in the workplace. You tell yourself it could be worse. Miniature horses are included within the definition of service animals…
In the final month of 2017 we discussed efforts by the Massachusetts and New Jersey legislatures to limit the use of employment non-compete agreements. By the start of 2018, the spike in activity had become a trend, with Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Vermont introducing non-compete legislation of their own. In an article posted on our website, Daniel Schwartz (Portsmouth), Martha Van Oot (Portsmouth), Erik Winton (Boston), and Colin Thakkar (Jacksonville) analyze the New Hampshire…
Years ago, I had a legal assistant who was unable to get to work on time. I finally told her that she had to be in at 8:30 as that was when everyone else started their work day. Three days later, she appeared in my office, walked in and slapped a speeding ticket on my desk and insisted that I pay it because it was my fault that she was speeding to get to work…
Diligent and well informed employers know that it is the best practice to engage in an individualized assessment of a requested accommodation. Sometimes an employer may be tempted to refuse to discuss an accommodation because it doesn’t believe that the request is reasonable or because the employee is not “qualified.” It should resist the temptation. A recent Maryland case drove home this point.  In Van Rossum v. Baltimore County, Maryland, the Plaintiff was a…