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Sixth Circuit: Work Restrictions Do Not Equate to a Disability Under the ADA

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June 7, 2019

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In Booth v. Nissan North America, Inc., the Sixth Circuit stated that just because an employee has physical work restrictions does not equate to being “disabled” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). A person is disabled under the ADA if they have a (1) “physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,” (2) “a record of such impairment,” or (3) is “regarded as having such an impairment.”

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Seventh Circuit: Obesity is a Disability Under the ADA Under Limited Circumstances

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June 12, 2019

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In Richardson v. Chicago Transit Authority, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal stated that obesity would only be considered a disability under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) if the obesity is caused by a physiological disorder or condition.  This decision aligns the Seventh Circuit with the Second, Sixth, and Eighth Circuit courts.

Generally, employers covered by the ADA are required to provide disabled employees with reasonable accommodations that will allow the disabled person to perform the essential function of their job.  Richardson provides employers with guidance on how the ADA applies to obesity.  If an obese individual’s condition prevents them from performing essential job duties, or threatens the safety of others, employers may still need to engage in the interactive process to determine if the individual’s condition qualifies under the ADA or other state or local laws.

Action Items

  1. Review interactive process procedures for consistency with this ruling.
  2. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2019 ManagEase

Second Circuit: ADA Protects Against a Hostile Work Environment

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All Employers with Employees in CT, NY, VT

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March 6, 2019

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In Fox v. Costco Wholesale Corp., the Second Circuit Court of Appeals stated that hostile work environment claims may be brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). There, an employee who had Tourette’s Syndrome and OCD claimed he was subject to a hostile work environment because of his medical conditions, including mocking his disability over a significant period of time and with the employer’s knowledge. Specifically, the court stated that the prohibition of discrimination under the ADA includes prohibiting workplace harassment, similar as with Title VII claims. The court indicated that there was sufficient information alleged that would allow the case to proceed. Employers should take care to consistently enforce anti-discrimination and harassment policies.

Action Item

  1. Review the decision here.
  2. Have discrimination and harassment policies reviewed for compliance.
  3. Have employees regularly trained on discrimination and harassment prevention.
  4. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2019 ManagEase

EEOC Abandons the Incentives Sections of their Final Wellness Regulations

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January 1, 2019

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Effective January 1, 2019, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) removed the incentives section of its final regulations on wellness programs under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC regulations previously addressed how the ADA and GINA applied to employee health and wellness programs, including set limits on incentives that could be offered by wellness programs (e.g., for submitting to a wellness medical exam).

In light of the EEOC’S actions, employers are now faced with limited guidance on how financial incentives may be offered as part of their wellness programs.  The EEOC stated new proposed regulations may be forthcoming, but are unlikely to be released before June 2019. Employers should review wellness programs with legal counsel and look for the EEOC’s updated guidance in the future.

Action Items

  1. Have wellness programs reviewed for compliance.
  2. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2019 ManagEase

Ninth Circuit: Requiring Applicant to Pay for Pre-Hire Medical Testing Violated ADA

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Employers with 15 or more AK, AZ, CA, HI, ID, MT, NV, OR, WA, Guam, and Northern Mariana Islands Employees

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August 29, 2018

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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal recently stated that an employer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by requiring a job applicant to obtain, and pay for, additional medical testing as part of a condition of employment.

Sixth Circuit: Full-Time Work is Not an Essential Job Function Under the ADA

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Employers with KY, MI, OH, and TN Employees

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July 17, 2018

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In Hostettler v. College of Wooster, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal recently determined that an employer could not make full-time work an essential function of a job so as to justify failing to accommodate an employee under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). There, the employee suffered from post-partum depression and, based on her physician’s instruction, obtained approval to work part-time. However, her supervisor felt that the employee’s part-time work schedule burdened others in the department. When the employee submitted an updated medical certification requiring continued part-time employment, the supervisor terminated her based on her inability to return full-time.

Seventh Circuit: Additional Months of Leave after FMLA not a Reasonable Accommodation

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All Employers of IL, IN, WI Employees

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September 20, 2017

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Employers may already know that certain types of leaves of absence may qualify as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  However, the Seventh Circuit recently confirmed that an employee’s request to take additional months of leave after exhausting his FMLA allotment was not a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.

Washington: Pregnant Employees Must be Accommodated Regardless of Disability

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All Employers with WA Employees

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July 23, 2017

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Washington’s Health Starts Act (the “Act”) imposes new obligations on employers with pregnant employees.  In a departure from the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the Act requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees regardless of whether or not the employee is disabled by their pregnancy.  The Act provides a list of reasonable accommodations employers may need to provide, and includes other important restrictions on medical certification and the “undue hardship” exemption.

Workplace Wellness Incentive Guidelines Update

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January 1, 2017

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Implementing a company wellness program can reduce overall health-related costs, such as reducing the amount of employee absences or lack of productivity due to illness.  It can also help retain and attract talent in a competitive market.  Given the positive impact on a company’s well-being, many employers are implementing wellness programs for employees.

On May 16, 2016, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) published two Final Rules (“Rule(s)”) clarifying under what conditions employers can offer incentives for employee participation in workplace wellness programs, while also protecting employees from discrimination.  The two Rules apply to the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (“GINA”).

June Updates

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This HR Alert addresses the following topics:
  1. U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Rule on Contraceptive Coverage Decisions
  2. U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Revises Statute of Limitations on Constructive Discharge Claims
  3. EEOC Doubles Poster Violation Penalty Fine
  4. EEOC Provides Guide for Using Leave as a Reasonable Accommodation under ADA
  5. California Businesses Now Have Time to Fix Accessibility ADA Violations
  6. California Paid Sick Leave Coverage Expanded to In-Home Workers
  7. Los Angeles, CA Doubles Paid Sick Leave, Effective July 1, 2016
  8. Santa Monica, CA’s Paid Sick Leave Implementation Delayed to 2017
  9. Georgia: Franchisors are not Employers of Franchisees or Franchisees’ Workers
  10. Many Tennessee Employers Soon Required to Use E-Verify
  11. Vermont Passes Ban-the-Box Legislation

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