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

On October 2, 2013, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed into law an amendment to the city’s Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”), expanding the scope of the pregnancy discrimination protections provided under the law.  Although discrimination on the basis of an employee’s pregnancy has long been prohibited under the NYCHRL, as well as under state and federal law, the new amendment makes it unlawful for an employer to refuse to reasonably accommodate “the needs of an employee for her pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.” 

Continue Reading NYC Expands Human Rights Law to Require Employers to Reasonably Accommodate Pregnant Workers

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Once an employer becomes aware of an employee’s disability, the ADA requires the employer to provide a “reasonable accommodation” to enable the employee to perform the essential functions of his or her job.  While the type of reasonable accommodation required can vary greatly depending on an employee’s disability and essential job functions, it was not until recently that a court found that permitting an employee to work in natural light can be a reasonable accommodation.

Continue Reading First-Grade Teacher With Seasonal Affective Disorder Entitled To A Room With A View

On February 28, 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued additional guidance to wounded veterans and to employers under the ADA Amendments Act of 2008.  The two publications are revised versions of guides that originally were posted by the EEOC in February 2008. This guidance reflects another move by federal agencies to address the employment of disabled persons.  Last December, we reported that the OFCCP issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would, among other things, establish a national utilization goal for individuals with disabilities. There is certainly more than one indication from the federal government that employers will likely continue to face heightened responsibilities concerning the employment of disabled individuals.

Continue Reading EEOC Issues Guidance To Disabled Vets And Employers

Thirty-four percent of adults in the United States presently qualify as obese under standards adopted by the Center for Disease Control.  Morbid obesity (defined as having a body weight more than 100% over the norm) and obesity caused by a psychological disorder are "disabilities" as defined by the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”), according to the EEOC.  Lawsuits involving morbid obesity are on the rise and come in many shapes and sizes.  The most common involves a “substantially limiting” health condition such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.  Others involve employers who assume an obese employee would pose a direct threat to the health and safety of him or herself or other employees if he or she were to carry out the essential functions of the job.

Continue Reading A Big Problem: Obesity Discrimination In The Workplace

Bending over backwards to help an employee with a disability can leave the employer in an awkward position.  With changes to the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and its regulations last year, employers may be more likely to offer accommodations.  More conditions will be deemed to fall within the definition of a disability, and employers likely will err on the side of providing accommodations.  However, employers should continue to exercise sound judgment in deciding what accommodations to offer.

Continue Reading Use Caution When Accommodating a Disability