Trainings & Events
News from the Federal Agencies
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Garney Construction and Georgia Power to Pay $49,500 to Settle Disability Lawsuit
Garney Construction Co. and Georgia Power Company will pay $49,500 and provide other relief to settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC),. The EEOC suit stated Garney offered a front-end loader job to an applicant that had worked for Garney operating a front-end loader on two previous occasions. This project however required that the applicant undergo a medical examination. The job offer was rescinded when it was discover that the applicant was taking medication to treat epilepsy.
Benedictine Health Center Settles EEOC 'No Restrictions' Disability Bias Suit
A federal judge has approved a consent decree settling a lawsuit that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) had filed against Benedictine Health Center. Benedictine Health Center had a policy requiring employees who took medical leaves of absence to return to work with no restrictions unless the injury or condition was related to an on-the-job injury. The EEOC lawsuit alleged that this policy violated the ADA because it did not allow for an assessment to determine if an employee with a disability could return to work if provided with a reasonable accommodation.
Children's Hospital Colorado to Pay $95,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Lawsuit
Children’s Hospital Colorado will pay $95,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC),. The EEOC lawsuit alleged that Children have discriminated against an applicant due to her disability, fibromyalgia.
Health Partners, Inc. To Pay $25,000 to Resolve EEOC Disability Discrimination Case
A Southfield, Mich. rehabilitation and nursing company, has agreed to pay $25,000 and conduct training to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC),. In the lawsuit the EEOC charged that Health Partners violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by refusing to allow an employee to start working after she tested positive for tuberculosis.
Pioneer Place Assisted Living Settles EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit
An assisted living and nursing home facility in Vale, Ore., agreed to pay $80,000 and apologize to a job applicant with epilepsy to resolve a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC),. According to the EEOC lawsuit Pioneer Place Assisted Living refused to hire an applicant for a cook position even though the applicant had already completed an interview and had discussed a start date. When the applicant was informed that all applicants needed to pass a drug test before beginning work. The applicant had a positive drug test due to medications used to treat epilepsy. When Pioneer learned of the positive drug test they did not hire the applicant.
EEOC Sues Christian Care Center of Johnson City for Disability Discrimination
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed that Christian Care discriminated against an employee because of the employee’s HIV-positive status. The EEOC alleges that the employee worked as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) for more than a month. When the nursing home learned that the employee was HIV positive, it immediately discharged the person.
U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
DOJ Settles with Flint, Michigan, to Make Voting Accessible to People with Disabilities
The Justice Department today announced a settlement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with the city of Flint, Mich., to make all the city’s polling places more accessible for individuals with mobility impairments. The case was commenced based on a complaint from the Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service, and was investigated jointly by the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Michigan.
Justice Department Reaches Settlement Agreement Resolving Title III Complaint
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) reached a settlement agreement with AQUA TURF, a banquet facility, resolving a complaint that had been filed under title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The complaint stated that AQUA TURF’s facilities contained architectural barriers preventing persons with disabilities from full access to the facility. The DOJ conducted a review of the facility and identified numerous accessibility issues in the bathrooms, bars and routes between the four main banquet rooms. AQUA TURF agreed to take steps to remove existing barriers where it is readily achievable to do so.
Department of Justice Reaches Settlement Agreement with AM2PM
The U.S. Department of Justice reached a settlement agreement with AM2PM resolving a complaint filed under title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The complaint alleged that AM2PM discriminated against a girl with Down syndrome when it refused to allow the girl to be enrolled in their program. The agreement requires AM2PM to develop non-discrimination on the basis of disability policy.
Great Lakes In Focus
U.S. Department of Justice Extends Compliance for Existing Swimming Pools, Wading Pools and Spas
On May 18 the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it is adopting a final rule extending the compliance date for sections 242 and 1009 of the 2010 ADA standards for accessible design as they relate to the provision of accessible entry and exit to existing swimming pools, wading pools, and spas. This applies to pools built before March 15, 2012. The provisions for existing pools covered by title II and title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will now take effect on January 31, 2013. This change in compliance for pools built prior to March 15 does not affect pools newly constructed or altered after the March 15, 2012 effective date for the 2010 standards.
- Extension of Compliance Date for Existing Pools For more information visit http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/ADAregs2012/finalrule_existingpools_FR_may21.htm
- Questions and Answers: Accessibility Requirements for Existing Swimming Pools at Hotels and Other Public Accommodations (HTML) For more information visit http://www.ada.gov/qa_existingpools_titleIII.htm
- Questions and Answers: Accessibility Requirements for Existing Swimming Pools at Hotels and Other Public Accommodations (PDF) For more information visit http://www.ada.gov/qa_existingpools_titleIII.pdf
- Updated Document - ADA Requirements: Accessible Pools - Means of Entry and Exit (HTML) For more information visit http://www.ada.gov/pools_2010.htm
- Updated Document - ADA Requirements: Accessible Pools - Means of Entry and Exit (PDF) For more information visit http://www.ada.gov/pools_2010.pdf
Wurzel v. Whirlpool Corp For more information visit http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/ohio/ohndce/3:2009cv00498/157307/51
The U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati affirmed a lower court's summary judgment dismissal of an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuit. The Court held that an employee with a heart condition who poses a direct threat to himself and co-workers does not have a claim of discrimination under the ADA. An employer may lawfully restrict the placement of an employee with a medical condition if the employer reasonably determines that the employee cannot perform the essential functions of the job safely the appellate court held. Additionally, the Court indicated that under such circumstances, the disabled employee is not "qualified" for a job because the threat posed to the health or safety of the employee or others cannot be reduced or eliminated by a reasonable accommodation.
From the ADA Expert
Question: One of my employees recently developed a medical condition for which she was briefly off of work. Upon her return, she mentioned that she needed a few accommodations, including a reduced schedule and a different office location. Does she need to put these accommodation requests in writing? Should I request a note from her doctor? What is the "right" procedure for dealing with accommodation requests?Answer:
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits covered employers from discriminating on the basis of disability in all employment practices. The ADA applies to employers with 15 or more employees. A covered employer may choose to hire, fire or promote the most qualified individual that he/she wants. The ADA prohibits an employer from making that decision on the basis of disability.
When an employee requests an accommodation an employer may request documentation on the disability when the disability or the need for the accommodation is not apparent. An employer only has the right to receive documentation that demonstrates that the individual has a covered disability.
A disability under the ADA is defined as:
A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities or Having a record of such an impairment or Being regarded as having such an impairment.Additionally, an employee/applicant must be qualified to perform the job with or without a reasonable accommodation.
An employee may use simple language to request a reasonable accommodation and does not necessarily need to put the request in writing. However, an employer may create a policy that requires employees to make request for reasonable accommodation through a formal procedure such as filling out a particular form and submitting it. Current employees and new hires would need to be educated on the process. Additionally, supervisors and managers would need to be trained to direct employees to this process when an employee makes a verbal request for an accommodation.
Once an employee has made a request there should be a dialogue between the employee and employer in order to determine what accommodations may be necessary. An employer has an obligation under the ADA to provide a reasonable accommodation if it is needed to provide equal access to the application process, allow an employee to perform the essential functions of the position, or to provide equal access to any benefit associated with the job.
An employer is not required to provide any accommodation that would pose an undue hardship. An undue hardship is defined as something requiring significant expense or difficulty. If it is determined that a particular accommodation would pose an undue hardship an employer should look at other effective accommodations that would not pose an undue hardship. In addition, an employer is not required to provide the specific accommodation requested by an employee. An alternative accommodation may be provided as long as it is effective.
The important thing to keep in mind is that when an employee indicates that he/she is having difficulty performing the job because of a medical condition that supervisors and managers take appropriate steps to follow up with the employee. An employer may run afoul of the law if a request for a reasonable accommodation is ignored. Training staff on responding appropriately to requests is very important.