Articles Posted in Disability

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Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

There are times when employers have to make difficult decisions impacting the workplace. Today, I’m going to talk to you about one of them involving an employee who attempted suicide and, subsequently, pressed the company to return him to work.

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Renée Gordon (FDA), Victovoi [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Last night, I read this recent Seventh Circuit opinion about a man who applied for a job with a railroad.

The job required some fairly physical work; namely, climbing and working on and around heavy equipment. The company’s policy was not to hire anyone with a BMI of 40 or greater because of the “substantially higher risk of developing certain conditions like sleep apnea, diabetes, and heart disease and the unpredictable onset of those conditions can result in sudden incapacitation.” Given the job requirements, this could create an unsafe workplace. So, the company told the applicant that he was welcome to reapply later if he lost the weight and kept it off.

Instead, the applicant sued, alleging a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Continue reading

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Image Credit: Grouch (Joker Parody) – SNL (YouTube)

Let’s pretend that you operate a sanitation company. One of your employees — let’s call him ‘Oscar’ — tells you that he would like to take a multi-week sabbatical to learn more about his job and spend some time living in a trash can. Continue reading

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Image Credit: Photofunia.com (https://photofunia.com/results/5d92b3c0089f7a3a938b457d)

Often, when I present at HR events on reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, I’m asked about how to deal with disciplining employees who wait until after the performance issues arise and the progressive discipline follows to request an accommodation.

Specifically, do you have to excuse prior performance issues that may have been disability-related? The answer was no.

And based on this federal court opinion I read recently, the answer is still no. Continue reading

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Image by DigitalShards from Pixabay

I’ve talked a fair amount recently about retaliation claims (here and here), mostly focusing on timing as the possible link between a protected activity (such as a complaint of discrimination) and an adverse employment action (like a firing).

The plaintiffs in those cases were unsuccessful in proving retaliation. And, in the case about which I’m blogging today, the employer almost prevailed on summary judgment too.

Almost. Continue reading

“Doing What’s Right – Not Just What’s Legal”