Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA")

By Travis Anderson and Gregg A. Fisch

On December 8, 2011, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a disabled teacher who failed to meet the minimum requirements for her position was not a “qualified individual” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), and that her employer, therefore, was not required to accommodate her disability. This decision appears to be positive reinforcement that employers are not obligated to accommodate individuals who cannot perform the applicable job duties.

Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Holds that an Employer Need Not Reasonably Accommodate an Employee Who Does Not Meet the Job’s Minimum Requirements

By James Hays & Jonathan Sokolowski

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has held that under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Rehabilitation Act, employers may be required to assist disabled employees with their commute.

Continue Reading Second Circuit Finds that Employers May be Obligated to Accommodate a Disabled Employee’s Commute

Cuiellette v. City of Los Angeles (April 22, 2011) cautions employers that when an employee has been rated as 100% disabled for workers’ compensation purposes, the employer is not relieved of its duties under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”). Practically speaking, a workers’ compensation rating, even as high as 100% disabled, does not mean that the employee cannot be a qualified individual entitled to an individualized assessment of his or her disability through an interactive process and a reasonable accommodation.

Continue Reading A Workers’ Compensation Rating Of 100% Disabled Does Not Relieve An Employer Of Its Obligations Under The ADA And FEHA

In a recent decision involving a deaf employee’s professed need for a sign language interpreter to understand and participate in mandatory departmental meetings, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously reaffirmed that pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), an appropriate “reasonable accommodation” must be effective to enable a covered employee to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment.

Continue Reading Lawsuit by Deaf Employee Based on Failure to Provide Sign Language Interpreter Sent to Jury

In Scott v. Napolitano, a California federal district court recently provided guidance on how employers may draft medical examination questionnaires that comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The plaintiff, a security officer, sued his employer for violation of the ADA, disability discrimination, and retaliation after he was suspended and then terminated for refusing to respond to the employer’s medical questionnaire. The plaintiff claimed that the questions he refused to answer were impermissible disability-related inquiries that ran afoul of the ADA. The plaintiff and the employer filed motions for summary judgment.

Continue Reading Employers May Be Liable For Violating ADA Based On Vague And Overbroad Medical Questionnaires

On November 19, 2009, the Ninth Circuit handed down its opinion in Fleming v. Yuma Regional Medical Center, 07-16427. The court faced the difficult task of interpreting the interplay between Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. § 794) and Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Sixth and Eighth Circuits had previously held that the Rehabilitation Act incorporated Title I in its entirety, requiring an employer-employee relationship as a prerequisite to suing for discrimination. On the other hand, the Tenth Circuit had disagreed, and only incorporated the "standards" of Title I, allowing independent contractors to sue even without an employment relationship. In Fleming, the Ninth Circuit agreed with the Tenth Circuit, and held that the Rehabilitation Act would indeed cover claims by an independent contractor notwithstanding the lack of an employer-employee relationship.

Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Extends Rehabilitation Act to Independent Contractors

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) announced the release of a new mandatory supplement to the “EEO Is The Law” poster required to be displayed by private employers, state and local governments, educational institutions and labor organizations. The new supplement, which revises the September 2002 poster, is available to be downloaded or ordered by clicking here.

Continue Reading New “EEO Is The Law” Poster Supplement To Be Required November 21, 2009

On August 27, 2009, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a putative class action against United Parcel Service, Inc. claiming the company’s 12-month leave of absence policy violates the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”).

Continue Reading Inflexible Medical Leave Policies May Violate the Americans with Disabilities Act

On September 25, 2008, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (the “Act”) was signed into law by President Bush. The Act, which is effective January 1, 2009, expands the scope of disabilities covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (the "ADA"). In part, the Act broadens the scope of protection available to employees by rejecting two Supreme Court decisions which had narrowly construed the definition of “disability” under the ADA.

Continue Reading ADA Amendments Act Of 2008 Signed Into Law

The Ninth Circuit’s holding in Gribben v. United Parcel Service illustrates the principle that employing an overly technical analysis to determine an employer’s obligations to its employees under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") is risky.  The ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to qualified individuals with disabilities, which it defines as “physical or mental impairment[s] that substantially limit[] one or more of the major life activities of [an] individual.”  The regulations interpreting this statute further explain that the requisite substantial limitation may be shown where a person is “[u]nable to perform a major life activity that the average person in the general population can perform.”

Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Holding Reminds Employers To Think Carefully Before Denying Requested Accommodations