We’re talking full frontal here.
One of my all-time favorite ADA cases — God, am I a dork — is Keith v. County of Oakland, which I previously blogged about here. It involves a deaf lifeguard who applies for a position at a public pool and what, accommodations, if any are reasonable to allow him to perform the essential functions of the job. Why I like the case — in addition to singing the Baywatch theme when I speak about it at SHRM events — is it teaches employers never to judge a book by its cover. Even a deaf lifeguard may be qualified to perform the essential functions of the job.
Yesterday, I read about another case involving a deaf applicant for a safety-sensitive position.
It’s very well settled law that accommodating a customer’s preference to be serviced by employees of a particular race is, well, racist. A few weeks ago, this situation arose with a Lowe’s store in Virginia. A CBS affiliate reported (here) that a white Lowe’s customer refused to accept a delivery from a black Lowe’s deliveryman. According to the report, the customer specifically asked Lowe’s not to send a black delivery person. The customer told the CBS affiliate that “she had the right to have whatever she wanted and she did not feel bad about making the request for a white driver.”
Unfortunately, the story indicates that the store manager accommodated the customer by sending out a white driver instead. However, after the incident was reported to corporate, the company issued a statement denouncing the “discriminatory delivery request” as “inconsistent with our diversity and inclusion core values.” Lowe’s also terminated the store manager’s employment.
Employers are responsible for taking reasonable steps to maintain a workplace that is free from discrimination and unlawful harassment. Responsible companies have handbooks, policies, and training to help accomplish this. But, just remember that folks like customers, vendors, and the like are part of the workplace too. So, remind your workforce — especially your managers and supervisors — not to tolerate behavior that wouldn’t otherwise be condoned if displayed by an employee.
The SHRM blog does, silly. But, I can link to the preview (here) and the recap (here). Definitely check those out. Allen Smith, Manager of workplace law content at SHRM, and a host of others did a great job fielding questions about the ADA and FMLA issues that keep HR professionals up at night.
(Me? I sleep comfortably on a pile of money on top of another pile of money. Thanks for asking.)
I was going to blame the tardiness of today’s post on technical difficulties. Except, the only thing that was technically difficult about it was trying to muster the energy to blog last night after spending four hours in the sun with my 6-year-old at the Eagles first preseason game. I’m happy to report that the Eagles won, and, to the delight of the intoxicated masses who hung around in the fourth quarter — most everyone but me and my son — Tim Tebow scored a touchdown.
[Editor’s Note: The employer in this post is a client; although, I did not represent this client in this case].
Yesterday, in Jones v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, for the first time ever, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals recognized that a suspension with pay is not an “adverse employment action” under the substantive discrimination provision of Title VII. (The Court did not address the issue of whether a suspension with pay is an adverse employment action under the anti-retaliation provision of Title VII).
The Third Circuit’s holding is in line with several other circuits across the country.
Alright. That’s it. Nothing more to see here. Go enjoy some tunes.