In February of 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) released detailed information and statistics summarizing the charges of discrimination that the agency received throughout its 2015 fiscal year. The recently released report provides helpful information regarding the types of charges that employees filed in the 2015 fiscal year, which ran from October 1, 2014 to September 20, 2015.
Continue Reading EEOC 2015 Litigation Statistics – Retaliation Claims Lead Pack

On April 22, 2014, the Sixth Circuit reversed the district court’s dismissal of an ADA case against Ford Motor Company, finding that there was a fact issue as to whether telecommuting most days is a reasonable accommodation. In EEOC v. Ford Motor Company (No. 12-2484), the court addressed an increasingly common, yet persistently difficult, question:  when must employees be allowed to work remotely, and when is physical, in-person attendance an essential function of a job?

Continue Reading Telecommuting May Be A Reasonable Accommodation, Even For Jobs With “Teamwork” Requirements

More than three years after first announcing that it was considering issuing regulations applying the Americans with Disabilities Act to websites, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) appears on the verge of announcing its proposed rules for website accessibility. While the DOJ originally stated that it anticipated issuing its Title II website accessibility rules for

With the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (“ADAAA”) and its expansion of the definition of “disability,” some would argue that the focus should no longer be on whether someone meets the definition of a “disability.” The presumption being that it is much easier now to prove someone is “disabled” under the law. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has recently issued a ruling contracting this assumption.
Continue Reading Disability Still Matters in ADA Claims

A new case under the amended American with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) may add to employers’ confusion over how to handle medical and disability issues.   Butler v. Louisiana Dep’t of Pub. Safety & Corr., No. 3:12-cv-000420 (M.D. La. 2013).  In Butler, a state trooper alleged he was “regarded as” disabled by his employer, who allegedly thought he had obsessive compulsive disorder and germaphobia.  He claimed he was placed on involuntary leave, subjected to an excessive fitness-for-duty exam, and denied overtime opportunities.  The defendant employer denied the allegations and asserted the “direct threat” defense.  It sought discovery of the plaintiff’s psychiatric records and moved to compel production when the employee objected to the requests.  The court denied the motion to compel and made several interesting pronouncements.

Continue Reading District Court Rules Actual Disability Not Relevant To “Regarded As” Claim

For 60 years psychiatrists and other mental health professionals have been using the American Psychiatric Association’s “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (DSM) as the “bible” for diagnosing mental diseases and disorders.  Health and disability insurance providers  use the DSM in deciding what conditions and treatments to cover, as do government agencies in determining eligibility for benefits and services.  These and other factors make the DSM an unusually powerful document.

The latest DSM revision (the DSM-5) is set for release later this month.   It creates several new mental disorders and broadens the definition of a number of existing ones.  These changes will affect employers in a variety of ways, from expanded protection under the ADA and FMLA to increased benefit costs.  

Continue Reading Employers Beware: Psychiatry’s Latest Diagnostic Manual (DSM-5) Creates New Mental Disorders, Expands Others

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) announced that it won what it describes as a “historic” verdict last week when an Iowa federal jury awarded $240 million to a group of intellectually disabled plant workers who were subjected to disability-based discrimination and harassment.  The award is the largest in the agency’s history.  The EEOC’s General Counsel, David Lopez, remarked that the verdict is “one of the EEOC’s finest moments in its ongoing efforts to combat employment discrimination.”

Continue Reading EEOC Wins $240 Million Jury Verdict

We live in a society that is obsessed with appearance, and studies show that many people equate appearance to success.  While employers may not be aware of these studies, some are trying to control appearance in the workplace by imposing weight restrictions on job applicants or employees as a condition of employment.  

Whether these policies

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania held recently that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s “pattern and practice” disability discrimination claims are subject to a 300-day limitations period, furthering a pronounced split among federal district courts on the issue.  In the case, the EEOC took the position that its pattern or practice claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act were not subject to the limitations period, or, in the alternative, that the employer’s violations constituted a “continuous violation” and the EEOC’s claims were, thus, exempt from the 300-day limitations period.  The court, however, agreed with the employer’s position that the EEOC’s claims were subject to the limitations period based upon the plain language of the statute.  The decision holds the EEOC subject to the same limitations period applicable to individual claimants in any Title VII context.

Continue Reading Another Court Finds EEOC Pattern And Practice Claims Subject To 300-Day Limitations Period