On July 26, 2023, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued updated guidance, Visual Disabilities in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act, addressing how the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) applies to job applicants and employees with visual disabilities. The guidance addresses various topics including: (1) when an employer may ask a job applicant or employee questions about his or her vision impairment and how an employer should treat voluntary disclosures; (2) what types of reasonable accommodations applicants or employees with visual disabilities may need; (3) safety concerns about applicants and employees with visual disabilities; and (4) ensuring no employee is harassed because of a visual disability.Continue Reading EEOC Releases Updated Guidance on Visual Disabilities in the Workplace
Employers’ burgeoning use and reliance upon artificial intelligence has paved the way for an increasing number of states to implement legislation governing its use in employment decisions. Illinois enacted first-of-its-kind legislation regulating the use of artificial intelligence in 2020, and as previously discussed, New York City just recently enacted its own law. In 2023 alone, Massachusetts, Vermont and Washington, D.C. also have proposed legislation on this topic. These legislative guardrails are emblematic of our collective growing use of artificial intelligence, underscore the importance of understanding the legal issues this proliferating technology implicates, and need to keep abreast of the rapidly evolving legislative landscape. Below is a high-level summary of AI-related state legislation and proposals of which employers should be aware.Continue Reading States’ Increased Policing of Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace Serves as Important Reminder to Employers
As we previously reported, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has had on its radar potential harms that may result from the use of artificial intelligence technology (“AI”) in the workplace. While some jurisdictions have already enacted requirements and restrictions on the use of AI decision making tools in employee selection methods, on May 18, 2023, the EEOC updated its guidance on the use of AI for employment-related decisions, issuing a technical assistance document titled “Select Issues: Assessing Adverse Impact in Software, Algorithms, and Artificial Intelligence Used in Employment Selection Procedures Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964” (“Updated Guidance”). The Updated Guidance comes almost a year after the EEOC published related guidance explaining how employers’ use of algorithmic decision-making tools may violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The Updated Guidance instead focuses on how the use of AI may implicate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. Particularly, the EEOC focuses on the disparate impact AI may have on “selection procedures” for hiring, firing, and promoting.Continue Reading The Use of Artificial Intelligence in Employee Selection Procedures: Updated Guidance From the EEOC
On May 12, 2022, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued guidance addressing the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) to employers utilizing software, algorithms, and artificial intelligence in hiring and employment decisions. Produced in connection with the EEOC’s launch of its Initiative on Artificial Intelligence and Algorithmic Fairness in October 2021, the EEOC’s latest guidance reflects its goal of ensuring that employers utilizing technology in hiring and employment decisions are complying with federal civil rights laws. Notably, the guidance was issued a few days after the EEOC filed a complaint against a software company alleging age discrimination, potentially signaling similar actions related to the use of artificial intelligence in the employment context. Below are some key takeaways on the new guidance.Continue Reading EEOC Issues Guidance Regarding How Employer Software and Artificial Intelligence May Discriminate Against Individuals With Disabilities
On March 18, 2022, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) issued “Web Accessibility Guidance” for state and local governments and public accommodations under Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) (the “Guidance”). The Guidance, however, does not offer any new insights from the DOJ on the issue of website accessibility for state and local governments and public accommodations, and does not provide any specific technical standards for compliance. Instead, as the DOJ explained in the accompanying press release, the Guidance is merely intended to “offer plain language and user-friendly explanations to ensure that it can be followed by people without a legal or technical background.”
Continue Reading The Department of Justice Issues “Web Accessibility Guidance”
Amid the United States’ growing opioid crisis, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued new guidance on employers’ obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) regarding job applicants or employees who legally use opioid medications or who have a history of addiction to opioids. The guidance is not new policy; rather, the guidance applies principles already established under both the ADA and previously-issued EEOC guidance.
Continue Reading EEOC Issues Guidance on Employee Opioid Use and the Americans With Disabilities Act
Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander? Not necessarily. The Ninth Circuit and California Court of Appeals recently decided two cases that substantially limit the scope and application of freedom of religion rights rooted in the U.S. Constitution. Together, these cases narrow the definition of the term “minister,” and expand the spectrum of employment law claims which may be brought against a religious employer. This new interpretation of freedom of religion rights may be difficult to reconcile with existing law from the U.S. Supreme Court which bars a minister from bringing employment discrimination claims against a religious employer.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit and California Court of Appeals Rule on Freedom of Religion Rights
As of October 15, 2018, NYC employers with four or more employees will be required to engage in a “cooperative dialogue” with a person who may be entitled to a workplace accommodation. The “cooperative dialogue” resembles the “interactive process” that most employers are familiar with under the Americans with Disabilities Act, but the NYC law applies to more than disability-related accommodations and, importantly, requires employers to document the cooperative dialogue process. We have prepared this short Q&A to help employers understand their obligations under the new law.
Continue Reading New NYC Law Requires Employers to Engage in “Cooperative Dialogue” for Workplace Accommodations
In recent years, businesses have been inundated with a wave of serial litigation wherein private plaintiffs have argued that websites that are insufficiently compatible with screen reading software are in violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The typical allegation in such cases is that the plaintiff could not read the website and, as a result, could not access the goods and services offered by the company. These private plaintiffs have taken advantage of the current ambiguity in the law to bring multiple lawsuits. At least two ADA website accessibility claims are on appeal before the Ninth and Eleventh Circuits to hopefully provide clarity to covered entities on what current obligations, if any, they have to make their websites accessible to persons with disabilities.
Continue Reading Is Your Online Job Application Accessible To The Visually Impaired? The Newest Website Accessibility Claims
Last month, New York’s highest court took the unprecedented step of construing the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) more narrowly than its state and federal counterparts to bar plaintiffs’ city law disability discrimination claims. Answering a certified question from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the New York Court of Appeals in Makinen v. City of New York, Nos. 16-973-cv(L), 16-1080-cv(XAP), 2017 WL 4621717 (N.Y. Oct. 17, 2017) held that two former New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) officers could not sustain disability discrimination claims on the basis of “perceived untreated alcoholism,” even though such claims would be recognized under the New York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).
Continue Reading New York’s Highest Court Narrowly Construes New York City Human Rights Law To Bar Disability Discrimination Claims Based on Perceived Alcoholism
The Seventh Circuit recently held in Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc. that a long-term leave of absence, particularly one extending beyond the twelve weeks of leave guaranteed by the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), does not warrant protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).
Raymond Severson was terminated from his job as a fabricator at Heartland after he exhausted his 12-week medical leave under the FMLA and requested to remain off work for several additional months to recover from back surgery. Severson sued Heartland under the ADA, arguing Heartland failed to provide him with a reasonable accommodation—namely, a three-month leave of absence following the expiration of his FMLA leave.
Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Holds Long-Term Leave is Not a Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA