Disability Discrimination

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a District Court’s ruling in favor of employer Medtronic, Inc. in a lawsuit alleging Medtronic unlawfully terminated employee Jose Valtierra’s employment because he was morbidly obese, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  In doing so, the Court declined to decide whether morbid obesity is a disability, leaving this issue unsettled in the Ninth Circuit.
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On June 5, 2019, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed into law Assembly Bill No. 132, which is the first state law to curb pre-employment marijuana drug tests.  The new law has two primary effects: 1) it makes it unlawful for Nevada employers to fail or refuse to hire a prospective employee because the applicant submitted to a screening test and the results of the test indicate the presence of marijuana; and 2) it provides employees who test positive for marijuana with the right to, at their own expense, rebut the original test results by submitting an additional screening test within the first 30 days of employment. 
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Voters in Michigan, Utah and Missouri passed marijuana-related ballot measures in the November 2018 elections.  Each of these measures recognizes that marijuana remains a controlled substance, and illegal, under federal law, and that authorized users, growers, physicians, and any others who properly support or participate in these programs will be shielded from liability only under state law.
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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.
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Employers increasingly feel that they are forced to bend, or sometimes even break, company rules to reasonably accommodate disabled workers under federal and state law. In a victory for employers, the Eleventh Circuit bucked this trend, holding that when mandatory overtime is established as an “essential function” of the job, a disabled employee who cannot work overtime is not a “qualified individual” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and, thus, need not be accommodated.
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