Articles Posted in Disability

Telework is among the array of possible reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act that may enable an employee with a disability to perform the essential functions of the job.

Now, as a federal appellate court confirmed last month, there are situations in which telework is not a reasonable accommodation; namely, where attendance and face time are essential functions of the job. But, other times, telecommuting may be just what the doctor ordered. Continue reading

Isn’t the Americans with Disabilities Act fun? Oh, right, it’s the federal employment law that y’all voted the one that keeps you up most at night. ADA garnered 30% of the votes in yesterday’s hella-lazy blog post of a poll. FMLA and FLSA tied for second with 23% of the vote each.

So, how about today’s puzzler? How the heck do you reduce workplace stress to reasonably accommodate an employee with a disability. Well, in many cases, I’m pretty sure that the answer is a Swedish massage, scented candles, and a FourLokoTini you can’t. Continue reading

Ok. Let’s assume that I’m looking to fill another Blogprentice position here at the Bloggerdome.

[FYI – The Blogprentice’s job is to massage my scalp during those brief periods of writer’s block or when I get the vapors, rub my feet at all other times, plus whatever tasks, reasonable or unreasonable, I may assign from time to time. Job pays minimum wage. And, by that, I mean compliments. That is to say, part of the job is to compliment me. Another part is to make sure I’m using compliment correctly (instead of complement)].

All hires must then pass a background check and drug screen. Continue reading

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ADA and Burger King?!? Has someone been eating too many Whoppers? No. But I did spend a 20 minute Uber ride yesterday sucking down mustard packets.

Actually, the inspiration for this post comes from Seattle Attorney, Michael Harrington, who presented “The Wild, the Weird and the Wonderful FMLA/ADAAA Cases…And the Lessons for Employers!” with me yesterday at the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) FMLA/ADAAA Employer Compliance Conference.

(If you want a copy of our PPT, please email me. I got you.)

During the takeaways from our presentation, I went with the tried-and-true, educate your employees about the procedures for requesting FMLA/ADA accommodations, and train your managers how to spot these requests, especially where the letters FMLA or ADA are not used.

But, Mike, who killed it yesterday during our presentation — the Penn to my Teller, the Bart to Milhouse — made it real simple. He suggested that companies train managers who deal with ADA requests to think about Burger King’s old slogan, “Have it your way.”

In other words, adopt a customer service mindset. By asking an employee what the company can do to accommodate a disability, the manager immediately helps promote the goals of the ADA: a good faith interactive dialogue designed to accommodate an employee with a disability to allow that employee to perform the essential functions of the job — unless doing so would create undue hardship for the employer.

So, next time an employee requests an accommodation, extra pickles, hold the tomato, and, “have it your way.”

(Unless there is another reasonable accommodation available or the accommodation would create undue hardship. But, you get the idea).

More eagerly anticipated that the premiere of Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, yesterday, the EEOC released its new proposed rules on wellness programs.

Although, based on the Paul Blart reviews, hemorrhoids too may be more eagerly anticipated. No strikethrough on the last sentence. Weird.

But, if you want to have an employee wellness program that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act, here are five things the EEOC wants you to do…  Continue reading

Geez! What’s gotten into me this week? Even by The Employer Handbook editorial standards, which are lower than Title VII’s religious accommodation undue hardship test.

[I’ll be here all week. Sorry.]

First, a 1000+ word blog post on ADA telework, followed by two cheeky posts on bad interview questions and the FMLA. So, naturally, this builds up to a Thursday post about oral.

As I resist every urge to cheapen this further by resorting to silly puns and other double entendre, allow me to set the stage for you: Continue reading

If you’re in a rush, I’ll hit you with the punchline and save you the trouble of reading 1,000+ words of blog post:

Telecommuting may be a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, except where regular attendance is an essential function of the job.

For those of you with a few minutes to spare, today’s post springs from a case, a saga really, involving the the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Ford Motor Company. And since I have a few good employer takeaways at the end — hey, don’t skip all the way through! — today’s post is worth the time. Continue reading

Happy Monday, everyone.

Glad to see I didn’t break some of your content filters on Friday with my filthy NLRB post. But, hey, just another day in the interesting life of an employment lawyer / HR professional, amirite?

Today, I bring you a very simple lesson, courtesy of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, from right here in my backyard. That lesson is this:

When you terminate an employee, do not write “Health Reasons” on the employee’s termination form. Continue reading

JetBlue A320 at Orlando

One week ago today, a Germanwings plane carrying 150 people crashed and killed everyone on board. Since then, there is mounting evidence that the co-pilot, who was in great physical shape, was also suffering from mental illness which caused him to deliberately steer Flight 9525 into the French Alps.

Why didn’t Germanwings taken preventative steps? Apparently, the co-pilot hid his mental illness from his employer.

Three days after the Germanwings catastrophe, a former JetBlue airline pilot, who was locked out of the cockpit and had to be subdued by passengers, filed this lawsuit in federal court against his former employer.  He claims that the airline was negligent because it knew or should have known that he was “physically and mentally unfit to fly.” Continue reading

Well, I think we can all agree that, when an employee’s protected class motivates a company to transfer him to a less desirable position, it’s time to call the lawyers and break out the checkbook.

But, what makes a transfer position less desirable?

Yesterday, I was reading this Sixth Circuit opinion about a hospital employee, who was undoubtedly suffering from a “disability” under the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, for several years, despite what the court described as “significant cognitive and physical impairments,” this plaintiff performed well as a housekeeper. Eventually, however, the hospital transferred the plaintiff to a different housekeeping role, one which he had trouble performing. Indeed, it was his poor performance in this new position that led the hospital to terminate his employment. Continue reading