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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

Indiana: Employers Now Permitted to Deduct Uniform Rental from Wages

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May 1, 2019

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SB 99 now permits employers to deduct the cost of uniform rentals from an employee’s paycheck, including the cost of things like uniform shirts, pants, or job-related clothing. Previously, paycheck deductions were only permitted under specific circumstances, and could only be made for approved reasons listed in Indiana’s wage deduction statute (primarily, health insurance premiums and union dues).  Uniform and job-required equipment “purchases” were added to the statute in 2015; with SB 99, rental of uniform wear is now added to this list of approved deductions.

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May Updates

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This Short List addresses the following topics:
  1. California: Registered Fictitious Business Names May Be Listed on Pay Stubs
  2. Indiana: Leaving Work to Voluntarily Testify is Not Protected
  3. Kentucky: Attorneys Must Represent Employers at Unemployment Proceedings
  4. New York, NY: Bans Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing in 2020
  5. New York, NY: Prohibits Discrimination Based on Employee Sexual and Reproductive Health Decisions
  6. Westchester County, NY: Updated Guidance Issued on Paid Sick Leave

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Indiana: State Supreme Court Sheds Light on Independent Contractor Test for On-Demand Services

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January 23, 2019

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In Q.D.-A, Inc. v. Indiana Department of Workforce Development, the Indiana Supreme Court examined whether or not a large vehicle transportation driver qualified as an independent contractor.  Q.D.-A is a transportation matching service that coordinates independent drivers with manufacturers in order to transport large recreational or non-towable vehicles. Q.D.-A required the driver to attend a two-day training orientation on federal regulations and complete a driving test, but the driver was otherwise able to refuse jobs, work with other competitors, and negotiate his own pay.

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Seventh Circuit: ADEA Applies to Employees and Job Applicants

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April 26, 2018

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In a split from an Eleventh Circuit ruling last year, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently stated that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (“ADEA”) provides protections not only to current employees aged 40 or older, but to similarly situated job applicants as well.

Seventh Circuit: Defines Application of the Ministerial Exception in Discrimination Claims

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February 13, 2018

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In Miriam Grussgott v. Milwaukee Jewish Day School, Inc., the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal used a “totality of circumstances” approach to determine that a Hebrew teacher’s position was ministerial in nature, rendering her ineligible to pursue an employment discrimination claim under the Americans with Disability Act.

In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court used four factors to determine whether an employee’s role is ministerial: (1) formal job position title, (2) substance of the position based on the title, (3) the employee’s use of the title, and (4) the religious functions the employee performed for the religious institution. Here, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal used these factors to analyze the employee’s claim, and indicated that the factors must be reviewed under the totality of the circumstances. Specifically, although the employee’s job title of “Hebrew teacher” was not ministerial nor did she hold herself out as a religious leader, when looking at the totality of the circumstances, the court stated that the facts supporting the substance of the job title and her actual job functions outweighed those considerations.

The Seventh Circuit’s decision emphasizes the need to clearly communicate an employee’s job title, duties, and the organization’s expectations.

Action Items

  1. Have job descriptions reviewed for consistency with ministerial duties, if applicable.
  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.

© 2018 ManagEase

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

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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.

Indiana: State Supreme Court Says Subcontractor’s Employees are Owed a “Duty of Care”

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April 26, 2017

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In the aftermath of Ryan v. TCI Architects/Engineers/Contractors, et al., Indiana employers should review their standard operating contracts and subcontracts to determine if they have an unexpected “duty of care” to workers of other entities.  The Indiana Supreme Court’s ruling in this case determined that certain language in a general contractor’s form contract extended a duty of care to a sub-subcontractor, despite the general contractor’s arguments otherwise.

Seventh Circuit is the First Federal Court of Appeals to Recognize Sexual Orientation as a Federally Protected Class

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April 4, 2017

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discriminationIn Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College, hearing the case en banc, the Seventh Circuit became the first federal court of appeals to determine that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The court stated that “it is impossible to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation without discriminating on the basis of sex.”

This landmark decision effectively prohibits discrimination and retaliation against applicants and employees on the basis of sexual orientation under federal law.

Seventh Circuit States Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements are Invalid

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May 26, 2016

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In Lewis v. Epic Systems Corporation, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously stated that arbitration agreements that prohibit collective arbitration or collective actions, including class, collective and representative actions, violate Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).