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Employers Beware:  Obligations Under PWFA Final Regulations Exceed Concept of “Reasonable Accommodation” Under ADA

By Alan E. Seneczko / April 30, 2024

On December 29, 2022, President Biden signed the Pregnant Worker Fairness Act into law with relatively little fanfare. It became effective on June 27, 2023 and requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations to a qualified employee’s known limitations related to, affected by or arising out of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the…

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Employer’s Job Description Not Detailed Enough For Quick Win In ADA Failure To Accommodate Case

By James B. Sherman / April 27, 2024

Job descriptions with lifting, standing, mobility, and/or other essential requirements are ubiquitous across all industries. EEOC interpretive regulations and numerous court decisions give deference to the judgement of employers as to what are the “essential functions” of the jobs they provide. Written job descriptions are presumed to accurately reflect essential functions. Why is this important?…

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When Is a Request for Accommodation Not a Request for Accommodation?

By Alan E. Seneczko / February 27, 2024

If an employee with a history of anxiety presents a list of requested actions for workplace grievances and labels it a “request for accommodation,” is it? How do you distinguish between gripes about the work environment and legitimate requests for accommodations under the ADA? In Kelly v. Town of Abingdon, 90 F.4th 158 (4th Cir.…

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Reasonable Accommodation and Commuting to Work

By Alan E. Seneczko / October 26, 2023

Employers recognize that they have a duty to reasonably accommodate employees with disabilities that substantially limit their ability to perform the essential functions of their job. But what about disabilities that limit their ability to get to work? Does the duty to accommodate extend to the commute? The Seventh Circuit recently tackled this issue and…

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Remote Work as an Accommodation in the Post-COVID Workplace

By Alan E. Seneczko / August 17, 2023

There was a time in the not too distant past when working from home was generally not a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. Mobley v. Allstate Ins. Co., 531 F.3d 539, 547-48 (7th Cir. 2008). In fact, the Seventh Circuit was quite emphatic in its position on this issue: “[A]n employer is not required to…

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Appellate Court Hands Northwestern University A Win In ADA & FMLA Suit

By James B. Sherman / April 26, 2023

The case was brought by a lab-tech employed by the university’s medical school, alleging several claims, including harassment, disability discrimination, and retaliation for taking FMLA leave for anxiety. The plaintiff also alleged she was called a “typical millennial,” “Princess Diana,” and teased about needing psychiatric help, or being “off her meds.” The FMLA claim named…

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By James B. Sherman / March 31, 2023

Many jobs require regular overtime or some minimum number of hours per day or week. If working a certain number of hours amounts to an essential function of a job, employees or applicants who cannot work those hours are generally unqualified. Even under the ADA, excusing a disabled individual from regularly working the hours essential…

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Is Obesity A Disability?

By Walter J. Liszka / August 19, 2019

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in a recent decision (June 12, 2019) in the case of Richardson v. Chicago Transit Authority has joined the Second, Sixth and Eighth Circuit in finding that Obesity, standing alone, is not an impairment under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) absent an underlying psychological cause. This is an…

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Don’t Like Your Boss? How About Demanding a New Supervisor as an Accommodation?

By Alan E. Seneczko / July 22, 2019

In this ever-litigious society of ours, it is comforting to see reason prevail on occasion, and the court’s recent decision in Summers v. Target Corporation, Case No. 18-C-32 (E.D. Wis. 2019) is a good example. In Summers, an employee contended that his supervisor caused him anxiety, stress, palpitations and panic disorders, for which he was…

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Service Animals in the Workplace

By Walter J. Liszka / May 27, 2019

I am fairly certain that a number of readers of this article will have been on airlines or in restaurants where they have observed individuals being allowed to have “service animals” accompany them on their trip or their restaurant excursion. It is not surprising that the issue of service animals in the workplace is now…

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