Some courts are still ruling on ADA cases as if the 2008 amendments never occurred. The Sixth Circuit reverses summary judgment in a case where the district court placed too high a burden on the plaintiff to prove she was disabled.
The Seventh Circuit's opinion contains useful guidance for employees suffering disability discrimination and harassment. One key takeaway: plaintiffs should not be quick to assume - in charging, pleading and proving a hostile-work-environment claim - that harassment always constitutes one continuing violation. "[A] substantial passage of time without incident known to the employer, a change in the employee's supervisors, [or] an intervening remedial action by the employer" may break the chain.
It's surprising that the district courts continue to get this wrong: the Tenth Circuit reverses summary judgment in an ADA case because the judge erroneously held that the plaintiff needed expert testimony to prove that she was disabled with a back injury.
A nurse is fired, supposedly for clinical errors, but an email is circulated to staff saying that she was fired because she "has been having major issues with her eyesight and as of late, it has seemed to be getting even worse." The Sixth Circuit finds that the email and other evidence present a triable case of regarded-as disability discrimination under the ADA.
Over the last decade, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has received an average of 3,573 charges of religious discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Those are just the reported incidents; many more are suspected of going unreported, further highlighting the prevalence of religious-based discrimination in workplaces across the country.
Religious discrimination generally manifests in the hiring process, the disciplinary process, wrongful termination, on-the-job harassment, or failure to provide reasonable accommodation. Refusing to hire or promote a candidate or permitting or encouraging harassment of an employee because of his or her religious beliefs are just a few examples of how an employer might violate Title VII, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, or depending on the state in which the wrongful conduct occurs, other state or local laws. Reasonable accommodation claims, however, are less clear cut.
Congratulations! You have received an offer letter. Usually, this is a document that formally extends employment to a job applicant and outlines the main terms and conditions (including salary and other benefits). The offer letter also frequently gives a candidate a more in-depth description of the position's role within the organization and responsibilities. Although the offer letter may seem like it presents a take-it-or-leave-it proposition, most of the time there is some room for negotiation. Even if you think you have no ability to negotiate, it is still important to make sure you understand the terms you are agreeing to before signing the offer letter. Review the offer carefully and think outside of the box if there are issues you want to discuss.
California has a strong public policy, codified in Section 16600 of the Business & Professions Code and repeatedly recognized by courts, that prohibits restrictions on employee mobility and competition, except in certain defined situations, as set forth in Sections 16601 and 16602 of the Business and Professions Code. Restrictions prohibiting competition that involves disclosure of trade secrets is also allowed.
In the past, some California courts have recognized certain other non-statutory exceptions to that policy, notably non-solicitation employees and "non-interference" provisions in employee contracts. In recent rulings, however, the courts seem determined to close this judicial loophole and prohibit these provisions as improper restrictions on trade.
The Eighth Circuit reminds employers that even where a disabled employee requests an accommodation that is deemed unreasonable, they are still obliged to engage in an interactive process to see if any other accommodation might work.
By Mikael Rojas and Maria Malaver
Both plaintiff and defense-side employment counsel have long understood that Title VII claimants in the District of Columbia had up to 300 days from an adverse action to file a charge with the D.C. Field Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). A recent ruling in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia gave practitioners reason to question that understanding, holding that the 300-day charge-filing period only applied where a claimant first filed his or her charge with the D.C. Office of Human Rights (DCOHR). Now, however, that court has changed course, formally reconsidering its opinion and confirming that claimants have 300 days to file with either the DCOHR or the EEOC.
The Second Circuit holds that even though the plaintiff (in an ADA associational discrimination case) also plead the employer's supposedly "legitimate, non-discriminatory" reasons for termination in his complaint, the district court erred in weighing them while deciding a motion to dismiss.