Articles Posted in Disability


When was the last time that you trained your managers and supervisors on how to address disability accommodation requests? Or, how about the last time that you reminded your supervisors and managers that an employee with a disability needs to be treated respectfully?

If it’s been a while (or, maybe, I dunno, forever), have I got a case for you!

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I’ve blogged (here) that grilling a medical marijuana user about her disability, just before firing the employee, could give rise to a viable disability-discrimination claim. In other words, where the disability (as opposed to the medical marijuana use) motivates the employment action, that’s discrimination.

I’ve blogged before (here) that the Americans with Disabilities Act does not protect illegal drug use by employees. So, if the illegal drug use, and not the disability, motivates a company to fire an employee, that’s perfectly legal.

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Christmas presents under the tree (11483648553)

Or late Hanukkah presents. Or early Kwanzaa presents. Or timely Festivus presents. Or, you get the idea.

My first present is a re-gift. Over at Win-WinHR, Lorene F. Schaefer, Esq. hosts this month’s edition of the Employment Law Blog Carnival: A Festival of Lessons Edition. If you need to get caught up on all the latest HR-compliance news and view from top bloggers across the country, then, go no further.

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I train a heckuva lot of managers and HR professionals on leave issues relating to the Americans with Disabilities Act and Family and Medical Leave Act. (Yes, you can have a copy of my presentation, just email me).

One issue that often crops up in discussing the intersection of the two laws is whether job-related stress or anxiety is covered under the ADA, FMLA, or both.

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break the stereotype

There are certain stereotypes that accurately reflect an image held in common for members of a group.

For example, employment-law bloggers who practice law in Philadelphia and blog from their bloggerdomes in Southern New Jersey are generally handsome, erudite, and more appealing than a hipster drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon at a beard and vinyl convention. Many excel at fantasy football too. Many consider them the Illuminati to the Illuminati.

But I digress…

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Back in October, the University of Southern California fired Steve Sarkisian, its head football coach. The Daily Beast, among others, reported that USC fired Mr. Sarkisian after an incident where he appeared drunk during a speech at a USC event.

Yesterday, Mr. Sarkisian fired back with a 14-count lawsuit in California Superior Court. The lawsuit includes claims for disability (alcoholism) discrimination and failure to accommodate his disability.

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Welcome To Florida Sign

Yesterday, the EEOC issued two new publications on the rights of HIV-positive individuals in the workplace. As EEOC Chair Jenny Yang underscored, “Individuals with HIV infection should know that the ADA protects their rights in the workplace, including the right to reasonable accommodations.” The implication here is that HIV is a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Indeed, the Americans with Disabilities Act regulations notes that it should be “easily concluded” that HIV substantially limits one or more major life activities. Further, the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division recognizes that HIV is an ADA disability.

Well, tell all that to a Florida federal court.

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Bungee chair.JPG

Several years ago, I attended a continuing legal education event at which a panel of attorneys discussed accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. I remember the law-firm attorneys talking about how the ADA only requires that an employer provide a reasonable accommodation — not necessarily the employee’s first choice of reasonable accommodations.

Then the general counsel on the panel — he was from a Fortune 500 company — did one of these, and offered this pro tip that I’ll never forget. Continue reading