Here's a potentially important case for disabled persons and their advocates residing in the Second Circuit (NY, CT and VT) and elsewhere. A panel reverses summary judgment in a case involving a city professional employee with schizophrenia under medication, holding that accommodations such as flex-time and unsupervised work may be reasonable in some instances. In this particular case, the record reflected that the employee had been so accommodated for ten years before a supervisor suddenly and inexplicably called an end to it.
The Seventh Circuit substantially affirms a judgment in favor of the EEOC on a hard-fought ADA reasonable accommodations case, concerning an employee forced to work beyond his medical restrictions. The judgment included an award of $100,000 in compensatory damages, $200,000 in punitive damages, and $115,000 in back pay, plus an injunction on AutoZone's anti-discrimination practices.
A common scenario in employment cases is the manager or supervisor who overreacts to a blow-up at work by firing the employee. What the employer may deem as a measured response to insubordination can, after the fact, be held by a court or jury to be the culmination of unlawful discrimination or retaliation. In this case, the First Circuit returns just such a case for a trial, reversing summary judgment entered against a nurse who was fired after complaining that she was being worked beyond her restrictions.
Here's a case that might make even stalwart advocates of civil rights re-examine their prejudices. The Sixth Circuit reverses summary judgment in case claiming that a village violated its duties under the ADA and Rehabilitation Act when it rejected a candidate for a lifeguard position on the ground that he is deaf. The panel finds that it will be up to a jury to determine whether the candidate could have performed the essential duties of lifesaving with accommodations. It turns out that there is a long and distinguished history of deaf lifeguards in the US.
Clearing up some confusion among the lower federal courts, the Sixth Circuit confirms that the Labor-Management Relations Act (LMRA) § 301 does not supersede an employee's federal statutory right to file a civil action to remedy a violation of her rights under the ADA.
While the Americans with Disabilities Act protects medical information about employees disclosed to an employer as a result of "medical examinations and inquiries," 42 U.S.C. § 12112(d), such protection is not infinitely elastic. The Seventh Circuit, affirming summary judgment in this ADA case, holds that the employer must "already kn[o]w something [i]s wrong with the employee before initiating the interaction in order for that interaction to constitute a 42 U.S.C. § 12112(d)(4)(B) inquiry." Fortunately for disabled employees, such circumstances are usually within their control if they are willing to come straight with their bosses about their work-related needs at the beginning of the relationship.
This government services case, brought under Title II of the ADA and Minnesota state law, demonstrates graphically - in a lesson important to ADA Title I employment cases - how the absence of American sign-language interpreters can impede understanding (and possibly result in legal liability). The panel holds that the city's failure to provide signers for a police interrogation may violate the rights of the disabled accused.
The Ninth Circuit reminds courts that the notice pleading standard for garden-variety employment discrimination cases remains low under Fed. R. Civ. P. 8, and that a simple three-page complaint can suffice.
The Seventh Circuit today announces the overruling of its precedents, EEOC v. Humiston-Keeling, 227 F.3d 1024 (7th Cir. 2000) and Mays v. Principi, 301 F.3d 866 (7th Cir. 2002), that held employers had no duty to place employees who were losing their current positions due to disability into vacant positions for which they are otherwise qualified. The court holds that this interpretation of the ADA was superseded by the Supreme Court decision, U.S. Airways, Inc. v. Barnett, 535 U.S. 391 (2002), and that employers have a duty to transfer.
The Tenth Circuit becomes the latest U.S. court of appeals to address the controversy of leave-time as a "reasonable accommodation" under the ADA. The court, in line with There circuits, recognizes the concept but holds that such leaves must be of a limited, definite duration.