disability discrimination

Are you ready to protect employees at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 as you reopen? That’s a question the CDC asks in its recently-released guidance for employers considering reopening. And the EEOC recently issued three new Q&As in the “Return to Work” section of its technical assistance guidance for COVID-19, instructing employers on managing “high risk” employees in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The below Q&A provides direction for employers regarding “high risk” employees returning to the workplace and reasonable accommodations to help keep those employees safer at work.

What is my employee required to do to request a reasonable accommodation if the employee has a medical condition the CDC says could put the employee at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19?

The employee (or the employee’s representative, such as the employee’s doctor) must let you know the employee (i) needs a work accommodation (ii) for a reason related to the medical condition. The request can be made in conversation or writing, and does not need to use the term “reasonable accommodation” or even reference the ADA. Therefore, to ensure you don’t unintentionally run afoul of the ADA by missing a request for a reasonable accommodation, we recommend you review every communication from an employee (or employee’s representative) stating that the employee has a medical condition requiring a change at work as one that may require a reasonable accommodation. It is also important to train managers to be aware of these requests and to immediately inform HR if an employee mentions needing a change at work because of a medical condition.


Continue Reading From Safer-at-Home to Safer-at-Work: the EEOC Issues Guidance to Help Reopening Employers Manage “High Risk” Employees

Last week, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a comprehensive breakdown of the workplace discrimination charges received in 2019. The report shows that fiscal year 2019 continued the trend of declining numbers of pending charges. Interestingly, the number of charges filed in 2019 is the lowest intake in any fiscal year since at least 1997. While there may be any number of explanations for the decrease, one possibility is that employees are turning to expanding state anti-discrimination laws and more active state administrative agencies rather than the EEOC.

Continue Reading While EEOC Report Shows Overall Decrease In Charges, Retaliation Continues To Be Top Charge

The Seventh Circuit significantly narrowed the EEOC’s broad interpretation of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) last month. The court held that the ADA does not cover discrimination based on a future impairment.

The Seventh Circuit determined that the “regarded as having” prong of the ADA does not extend to applicants who are rejected due to an employer’s concerns about future disabilities. Shell v. Burlington N. Santa Fe Ry Co. The Seventh Circuit joins the Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits in holding that the present tense “having” in the ADA does not include the future tense “will have.” The facts here involved an obese applicant, and not an applicant with an existing predisposition, so its practical impact may be narrower than at first blush.


Continue Reading From The Seventh Circuit: Future Disabilities Not Protected Under The ADA

On April 10, the EEOC released its charge filing statistics for Fiscal Year 2018, which ran from October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018. These annually disclosed statistics reveal continued trends in the employment litigation space and provide an opportunity for employers to ensure their policies and practices address issues arising in the ever-changing modern workplace.

Continue Reading EEOC FY 2018 Enforcement & Litigation Data Reveal Trends In Employment Litigation