Disability, Leave & Health Management Blog

Offering Practical Guidance to Employers

In recent years, particularly with technology making it easier for employees to work remotely, courts have struggled to determine whether onsite attendance is an essential job function under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  This question is often dispositive because only qualified individuals—those who can perform a job’s essential functions with or without a reasonable accommodation—are protected by the ADA.  A federal court in South Carolina recently ruled that an employee who could not get…
Although municipalities in suburban Cook County have — as we have previously reported — overwhelmingly opted out of the requirements of the Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance, the County Board of Supervisors has decided, by majority vote, to let the voters weigh in on the issue. The Board cited the recent decisions of Wilmette and Western Springs to reconsider their initial decisions to opt-out of the Ordinance to justify its decision to take…
A recent Third Circuit case, Sessoms v. Trs. Of the Univ. of Pa., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 16611 (3rd Cir. June 20, 2018), serves as a reminder that while the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees, it does not obligate an employer to provide the accommodation requested by the employee. An employer may choose among reasonable accommodations as long as the chosen accommodation is effective Sessoms,…
July 1, 2018 marked the one year anniversary of the effective dates of the Chicago and Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinances. A year later, more than 80% of the municipalities in Cook County have opted-out of the requirements of the Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance.  However, the opt-out issue is far from settled.  We have recently watched as two municipalities – Wilmette and Western Springs – reconsidered their initial decisions to opt-out of the…
If passed, California Senate Bill 937: Lactation Accommodation, will require employers to provide a lactation room, or location, in close proximity to the employee’s work space, and it must include prescribed features such as access to a sink and refrigerator. SB 937 also would deem denial of reasonable break time or adequate space to express milk a failure to provide a rest period in accordance with state law.…
“What did I do wrong?” and “Am I doing this correctly?” are frequent questions from clients regarding FMLA administration. This is the sixteenth in a series highlighting some of the more common mistakes employers can inadvertently make regarding FMLA administration. Not requiring an employee to follow customary call-in procedures for FMLA leave. When the need for leave is not foreseeable, an employee must comply with the employer’s usual and customary notice and procedural requirements for…
A recent decision from the District Court for the District of Nebraska serves as a reminder that overtime can be an essential job function. See McNeil v. Union Pac. R.R._ 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85250.  On May 21, 2018, Union Pacific Railroad Company’s (“Union Pacific”) motion for summary judgment was granted and the Court determined that it did not have to grant an emergency dispatcher’s request to be exempt from overtime to accommodate her…
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 we have previously reported, on September 20, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued a significant ruling for employers in Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc., 872 F.3d 476 (7th Cir. 2017), when it held that an multi-month, non-FMLA leave of absence is not a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  Since that time, district courts in the Seventh Circuit have begun to interpret and clarify the…
Last week, a court upheld the Minneapolis paid sick leave ordinance, but ruled that it is only enforceable against employers within the city’s limits. Minneapolis’s paid sick leave ordinance was passed in 2016 and was immediately challenged by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, which argued that the Minneapolis ordinance conflicts with state law and cannot be enforced against employers who do not have a physical presence in the city. That challenge resulted in a temporary…