Articles Posted in Disability


The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination based on a disability concerning employment. That includes refusing to hire someone based on an actual disability, a perceived disability, or a record of disability.

Whether an employer regards a job applicant as having a disability or learns about a record of a disability, an employer cannot lawfully refuse to hire them because they are receiving addiction treatment — even if that means the individual is currently in a methadone maintenance program.

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Yesterday, we discussed how an employee asserting a failure-to-accommodate claim under Title VII must establish that their request for a religious accommodation resulted in an adverse employment action. The same appellate court deciding that case also recently confirmed that the same maxim applies to failure-to-accommodate claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

But, there’s a rub. Continue reading


Near the beginning of the pandemic, an employee in New Jersey reported to work but felt ill; specifically, he felt “cold, clammy, and weak.” After going home, the employer told him not to return until he tested for COVID-19. The next day, the plaintiff went to a free clinic where he obtained a COVID-19 test. While waiting for the results, the employee reported to his employer that he felt better, and offered to return to work, maintaining social distance from others. The employer fired him instead.

Is this disability discrimination? Continue reading


Now, I know a lot of you reading this are out in Las Vegas at SHRM23 right now. And you probably work for companies that provide Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to employees that could use counseling or support.

Most of you know that the Americans with Disabilities Act, which bans discrimination against employees who have actual disabilities and those that employers perceive as having a disability, also prohibits employers from inquiring about the nature or severity of a disability unless the inquiry is shown to be “job-related and consistent with business necessity.”

But have you ever wondered whether recommending an EAP to an employee invokes the ADA?

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The Americans with Disabilities Act does not protect employee use of illegal drugs. It does not prevent employers from testing applicants or employees for current illegal drug use or making employment decisions based on verifiable results. However, the ADA would protect an employee with a disability who fails a drug test if the employer bases its termination decision on the underlying disability rather than the test result.

But here’s the thing. Continue reading


On May 11, 2023, the federal Public Health Emergency for COVID-19 ended. However, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced yesterday that “the end of the declaration does not change the requirements of the federal equal employment opportunity laws discussed in this publication.”

So, the EEOC took the opportunity to update its COVID-19 Technical Assistance.

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When a plaintiff sues, alleging a supervisor subjected them to a hostile work environment, the defendant may avoid liability — even if the harassment actually occurred — if it took prompt remedial action to protect the plaintiff. Also, if a plaintiff fails to take advantage of corrective opportunities the defendant provides, the defendant wins.

But not always. Continue reading


Employment lawyers and HR professionals generally preach that employees view “it’s not a good fit” to explain their termination of employment as code for discrimination or retaliation.

It’s HR101.

But yesterday, a federal court of appeals explained that this well-intentioned but often misconstrued rationale isn’t always a thinly-veiled, pretextual excuse to fire someone. Sometimes, people aren’t “good fits.” Continue reading

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