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- Published on Friday, 17 May 2013 14:45
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued four revised documents on protection against disability discrimination, pursuant to the goal of the agency's Strategic Plan to provide up-to-date guidance on the requirements of antidiscrimination laws. The documents address how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to applicants and employees with cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, and intellectual disabilities. These documents are available on the agency's website at "Disability Discrimination, The Question and Answer Series," http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/disability.cfm. According to EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien, "Nearly 34 million Americans have been diagnosed with cancer, diabetes, or epilepsy, and more than 2 million have an intellectual disability…Many of them are looking for jobs or are already in the workplace. While there is a considerable amount of general information available about the ADA, the EEOC often is asked questions about how the ADA applies to these conditions."
In plain language, the revised documents reflect the changes to the definition of disability made by the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) that make it easier to conclude that individuals with a wide range of impairments, including cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, and intellectual disabilities, are protected by the ADA. Each of the documents also answers questions about topics such as: when an employer may obtain medical information from applicants and employees; what types of reasonable accommodations individuals with these particular disabilities might need; how an employer should handle safety concerns; and what an employer should do to prevent and correct disability-based harassment. Read More.
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- Published on Monday, 23 January 2012 19:49
Employers must be aware that a determination of whether an employee is disabled under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the American with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008(ADAAA), is made on a case by case basis. A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals,10th Circuit, Allen v. Southcrest Hospital, No. 11-5016, 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 25488 (10th Cir. Dec. 21, 2011), highlights this important point. In the Allen case, the court held that an employee diagnosed with migraine headaches was not disabled under the ADA/ADAAA, based on the particular facts before the court. The court’s decision demonstrates that that whether or not migraines (or any other medical condition) constitute a disability under the ADA/ADAAA, depends on the particular evidence presented. The employee in the Allen case worked as a medical assistant. She claimed that after she was transferred to work for a certain physician (who had a particularly hectic office schedule), she began experiencing migraine headaches, which varied in severity, and allegedly affected her ability to work and care for herself at home. Thus, in August 2009, after she was allegedly denied family and medical leave (to care for her daughter who was scheduled to give birth) and allegedly denied a reasonable accommodation for her migraines, the employee resigned and subsequently filed a lawsuit claiming violations of the ADA/ADAAA and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The employer moved for summary judgment on the ADA/ADAAA claim, which the district court granted, and the employee appealed. On appeal, the 10th Circuit held that the employee could not establish that her migraine headaches constituted a disability because she could not prove that the migraines substantially limited a major life activity under the ADA standards, and that the ADAAA standards would not be applied retroactively. Thus, the court found for the employer. Read More.
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- Published on Wednesday, 05 October 2011 05:08
Adams Jeep of Maryland, Inc. , an auto dealership in Aberdeen, Md., was charged by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) with violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), when it allegedly fired an office worker soon after she disclosed that she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In its lawsuit, the EEOC claims that Adams Jeep denied Amy Smith a reasonable accommodation of medical leave, then harassed and discharged her due to her disability/record of disability. According to the lawsuit, the EEOC says that Smith had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder around March 2010, and after Smith disclosed her disorder to the office manager and assistant manager, she was called a “pill popper” and “psycho” by the assistant manager. The EEOC further alleges that while out on a medical leave of absence and under doctor’s care, Smith was fired. “The greatest barrier to employment for people with psychiatric disabilities is employers’ myths and fears about their condition, not the disabilities themselves,” said Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. Ms. Lawrence further commented that “We brought this lawsuit because the underlying purpose of the ADA is to eliminate employment discrimination for individuals who are qualified to do the job.” In fiscal year 2010, private sector workplace discrimination charge filings with the EEOC reached a record-high number of disability charges of 25,165 – an increase of 17.3 percent over the prior fiscal year. Read More.
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- Published on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 07:00
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued the long awaited final rule on the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA). The ADAAA, which was signed into law on September 25, 2008, expands the definition of "disability" under federal law. In California, pursuant to the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) it has already been easier for employees to establish a disability, as opposed to the prior federal standard. In a sense, federal law is getting more in line with California law on this issue. The final rule revises the prior Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations and includes new interpretive guidance. The regulations were published on March 25, 2011 and take effect 60 days from that date. The EEOC has issued a "Question and Answer" fact sheet regarding the final rule for ADAAA. It includes the following information on when an impairment is considered to "substantially limit" a major life activity: "To have an 'actual' disability (or to have a 'record of' a disability) an individual must be (or have been) substantially limited in performing a major life activity as compared to most people in the general population. Consistent with the ADAAA, the final regulations adopt 'rules of construction' to use when determining if an individual is substantially limited in performing a major life activity. These rules of construction includeAn impairment need not prevent or severely or significantly limit a major life activity to be considered 'substantially limiting.' Nonetheless, not every impairment will constitute a disability [and] the term 'substantially limits' should be construed broadly in favor of expansive coverage to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of the ADA."...
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- Published on Friday, 25 March 2011 19:10
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) final regulations to implement the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) are now available on the Federal Register website. Similar to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) the regulations are intended to simplify the determination of who has a "disability" and make it easier for people to establish a disability under the ADA. According to EEOC Chair Jacqueline A Berrien, "The ADAAA is a very important civil rights law...The regulations developed by the Commission to implement the ADAAA clarify the requirements of the law for all stakeholders, which is one of the Commissions most important responsibilities." The ADAAA went into effect on Jan. 1, 2009. In the ADAAA, Congress directed the EEOC to revise its regulations to conform to changes made by the Act, and expressly authorized the EEOC to do so. The EEOC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on proposed implementing regulations on September 23, 2009, and received well over 600 public comments in response. The final regulations reflect the feedback the EEOC received from a variety of sources. The ADAAA overturned several Supreme Court decisions that Congress believed had interpreted the definition of "disability" too narrowly, resulting in a denial of protection for many individuals. The ADAAA states that the definition of disability should be interpreted in favor of broad coverage of individuals. Therefore, the effect of these changes is to make it easier for an individual seeking protection under the ADA to establish that he or she has a disability within the meaning of the ADA....