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

Quit Monkeying Around: Court Rules Monkey Is Not a Service Animal

Service animals provide assistance to persons with disabilities in a number of ways. Last week, I wrote about the seeming confusion surrounding “non-standard” service animals, like a boa constrictor and a “seeing-eye horse.”  The U.S. DOJ published proposed revisions in an attempt to clarify what animals do and do not qualify as service animals for purposes of the ADA.  The proposed regulations relating to service animals (PDF) would exclude the boa constrictor (and other snakes and reptiles), as well as rabbits, farm animals, ferrets, and wild animals, including monkeys born in captivity. Continue reading

EEOC Published Flu Pandemic Guidelines

Wondering what it is okay to say and do with regard to employees who have, or might have, the flu? The EEOC has stepped up with information to clarify with information about flu-related issues based on the principles of the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA. The World Heath Organization posts periodic updates on the status of the H1N1 pandemic, which has been in phase 6 (sustained community-level transmission of the virus is taking place in more than one region of the world) since June 2009. Delaware is one of the states that the United States Center for Disease Control currently considers to be experiencing a “widespread” H1N1 flu outbreak. Continue reading

EEOC Town Hall Listening Session re: ADAAA in Philadelphia Oct. 30

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), was amended in September 2008 by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), which took effect on January 1, 2009. The ADAAA emphasizes that the definition of disability should be construed in favor of broad coverage of individuals to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of the ADA and generally shall not require extensive analysis. In other words, the Amendments Act expanded who qualifies as “disabled” for the purposes of the ADA’s protections. The new law makes it easier for an individual to establish that he or she has a disability within the meaning of the ADA. Continue reading

Table for Two, Please–Me and My Seeing-Eye Horse

I love animals. There’s no denying it. But, despite my passion for the Wild Kingdom, the stories of “unusual” service animals have me a bit perplexed. Over the last year or so, I’ve seen several stories in the news about individuals who claim that their pets should be considered service animals, thereby enabling them to take the animals places pets normally would not be allowed. Continue reading

EEOC Issues Swine Flu Guidance for Employers

Swine Flu is a concern for many employers right now. Employers want to provide employees with up-to-date information about the steps that can be taken to prevent the spread of the swine flu.  Employers also want to prevent the spread of panic where not warranted.  We posted previously with resources for employers. There is a new resource from the EEOC and it takes a different and important approach.  The EEOC’s new guidance addresses how employers should manage ADA concerns as they may arise in the context of the swine flu. Continue reading