ADA and Drug Addiction: The Ninth Circuit Provides Guidance

enchained_by_the_law_thumbA recent opinion from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has clarified employer liability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, where the employer requires drug testing as a prerequisite to employment. In Lopez v. Pacific Maritime Associates, the plaintiff challenged a union’s one-strike rule, which provided that one positive drug or alcohol test during pre-employment testing permanently prohibited hiring of the applicant. Continue reading

Delaware Legislature Buzzing Over Medical Marijuana

3d_doctor_running_3A bill to permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes was introduced in the Delaware General Assembly yesterday. Senate Bill 17, if enacted, would create an exception to Delaware’s criminal laws by permitting the doctor-recommended medical use of marijuana by patients with serious medical conditions. A patient would be protected from arrest if his or her physician certifies, in writing, that the patient has a specified debilitating medical condition and that the patient would receive therapeutic benefit from medical marijuana. Continue reading

Third Cir. Rules that Side Effects from Treatment May Be an ADA Impairment

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that side effects from medical treatment may constitute an impairment under the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”). The 3d Circuit’s decision in Sulima v. Tobyhanna Army Depot is clear that, under limited circumstances an employee-plaintiff may have a cause of action under the ADA if he can prove that the effects of medical treatment are truly disabling, even if the underlying condition is not. Continue reading

3d Cir. Finds Accommodation Required for Employee Without a Ride to Work

 Colwell v. Rite Aid Corp., is an accommodation case brought under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), recently decided by the Third Circuit, which hears appeals from the federal courts of Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Jon Hyman, at the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog, was the first to post about the Colwell opinion, noting that the decision offers employers some key reminders about best practices when dealing with an employee’s request for accommodations made pursuant to the ADA. Continue reading

The Risk of Automatically Terminating Employees After Leave Expires

The EEOC published a press release a few days ago about the distribution of a $6.2 million settlement it had reached with Sears, Roebuck & Co. The lawsuit had been filed in November 2004 in federal court in Chicago. The consent decree was entered and publicized on September 29, 2009 as the largest ADA settlement in a single case in EEOC history. Continue reading

Service Animals That Provide Psychiatric Service

image_eeLast week, I posted twice on the recent controversy surrounding service animals. (See Table for Two, Please–Me and My Seeing-Eye Horse; Quit Monkeying Around: Court Rules Monkey Is Not a Service Animal).    Apparently, I’m not the only one who finds the issue interesting. Over the weekend, the New York Times’ Week In Review feature included a piece on the same topic.  In Good Dog, Smart Dog, Sarah Kershaw writes about service animals that provide “psychiatric service.” Certainly, the animals discussed in Kershaw’s article appear to provide far more meaningful services than those discussed in some of the news pieces I cited last week.   Continue reading