The Department of Justice’s (“DOJ’s”) often criticized rulemaking delays have resulted in no new website accessibility rules for places of public accommodation to receive notice of and implement. Notwithstanding the obvious due process concerns raised by these delays, more and more website accessibility cases are being threatened and filed every day. Most, not unexpectedly, settle. Winn-Dixie did not, and what happened next is worth a closer look.

Continue Reading Federal Court Rules Inaccessible Website Violates Title III of the ADA

In a previous post, we discussed the Second Circuit’s opinion finding that Rite-Aid lawfully fired a long-tenured pharmacist after he refused to comply with the company’s new mandate that pharmacists administer immunizations.  The plaintiff requested that the Second Circuit rehear the case, arguing that it should consider additional evidence.  Without discussion, the Second Circuit denied the plaintiff’s request, upholding its prior decision.  The pharmacist was not protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act because he could not perform an essential function of the job—administering immunizations—and there were no accommodations that would have permitted him to perform that function.

The Second Circuit recently held that Rite-Aid lawfully fired a long-tenured pharmacist after he refused to comply with the company’s new mandate that pharmacists administer immunizations.  The Court’s decision overturned a jury verdict of $2.6 million in the pharmacist’s favor and reminds employers what it takes to show that a given function is “essential” and what accommodations are reasonable.  The former pharmacist had claimed Rite-Aid illegally discharged and retaliated against him, and refused to accommodate his disability—trypanophobia, or needle phobia—under the Americans with Disabilities Act and similar state law.

Continue Reading Second Circuit Says Firing Disabled Worker Was Lawful

This week, the EEOC announced that an Illinois-based packing company, Pactiv LLC, agreed to pay $1.7 million to resolve a charge alleging that the company discriminated against employees who needed time off from work for medical reasons.

According to the EEOC, the company maintained a nationwide policy that assessed “attendance points” to employees who needed time off for medical reasons. The company also allegedly failed to provide employees with intermittent and extended leave as a “reasonable accommodation” under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Continue Reading 1.7 Million Reasons to Review Your Company’s Attendance and Leave Policies

The Supreme Court recently held in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. that Title VII prohibits a prospective employer from refusing to hire an applicant in order to avoid accommodating a religious practice that it could accommodate without undue hardship, even where the applicant has not informed the employer of his need for an accommodation.

Continue Reading Supreme Court Holds That Employers Can Violate Title VII’s Religious Discrimination Provisions, Even Where Applicants Have Not Disclosed Need for Accommodation

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws which decriminalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes.  Under those statutory schemes, individuals with qualified medical conditions may become registered cardholders and obtain cannabis for medical purposes, often from state-regulated dispensaries.  These developments present an array of new challenges for employers to navigate.

Continue Reading Anti-Discrimination Provisions in State Medical Marijuana Laws Raise Additional Considerations for Workplace Drug Testing

In Enforcement Guidance issued last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission took the position that employers should accommodate the physical restrictions of women with normal, uncomplicated pregnancies as if those women had protected disabilities.

Continue Reading EEOC Issues Pregnancy Discrimination Guidelines Despite Pending High Court Case

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

On March 6, 2014, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) released guidance pertaining to employers’ responsibilities to accommodate religious dress and grooming in the workplace.  

The guidance provides explanation and analysis concerning an employer’s responsibilities under Title VII to “make exceptions to their usual rules or preferences to permit applicants and employees to follow religiously-mandated dress and grooming practices unless it would pose an undue hardship to the operation of an employer’s business.”

Continue Reading EEOC Releases Guidance on Accommodating Religious Dress and Grooming

In a 2-1 decision, the Tenth Circuit reversed summary judgment in favor of the EEOC on its claim that Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. failed to provide an applicant with a reasonable religious accommodation and remanded the case for entry of judgment in favor of Abercrombie.

Continue Reading Tenth Circuit Overturns EEOC Win On Religious Accommodation