Essential Functions

News & Analysis as of

Needle and the Damage Done: Pharmacist’s Phobia Not Enough for ADA Claim

Can fear of an aspect of your job constitute a disability under the ADA? Depends on how essential the function is. In Stevens v. Rite Aid Corp, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals looked at the case of a Rite Aid pharmacist,...more

Be Careful With That! – Second Circuit Dismisses Failure to Accommodate Claim Brought by “Needle Phobic” Pharmacist

On March 21, 2017, the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a former Rite Aid pharmacist’s claim against Rite Aid for refusing to accommodate his “needle phobia.” In 2011, Rite Aid altered the job description for its...more

Second Circuit Rejects Employee’s Trypanophobia Claim

You don’t need to look for a needle in a haystack to figure out this latest case from the Second Circuit. But you do need to know what “trypanophobia” is....more

Employee Absenteeism Due to Disability: What are Reasonable Accommodations?

One of the most troubling issues faced by human resource professionals is how to address an employee with a disability that impacts their ability to report for work. A good example is an employee who suffers from episodes of...more

Workwise: 5 Tips to Avoid Constructive Dismissal Claims

A constructive dismissal claim arises when an employer unilaterally changes a fundamental term of the employment agreement and, while the employer has not directly terminated the employee, the employee feels as though they...more

Telecommuting: Is It Reasonable?

Last week’s blog post explored the interactive process between employers and employees when considering a job accommodation for an employee with a disability. But what happens if during the interactive process, an employee...more

Breaks and Flexible Hours Not a Reasonable ADA Accommodation for Frequently Absent Employee, Court Holds

Employers can easily feel overwhelmed when it comes to enforcing employee attendance standards while providing reasonable accommodation to employees with chronic health conditions. Increasingly, however, court decisions such...more

Anxiety, Absenteeism, and the ADA

As accommodating and flexible as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compels employers to be, the harsh reality is that there are some jobs that a person with certain disabilities simply cannot do. When an employee...more

Court rules employer not able to accommodate pregnant employee

A recent ruling by the federal appeals court that covers Oklahoma reminds employers that they must treat pregnant employees with health conditions or work limitations the same as any other employee with health conditions or...more

Working At Home May Be A Reasonable Accommodation

Working at home may constitute a reasonable accommodation according to a recent decision in Rezvan v Phillips Electronics North America Corp., Case No. 15-cv-04767-HSG (N.D. Calif.) In Rezvan, a former employee with...more

Long-Term Shift of Essential Job Functions May Remove Them as Mandatory Qualifications

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) only requires employers to provide accommodations that allow the disabled employee or applicant to perform the essential functions of the job. The employer is not required to shift or...more

Does the ADA Protect a Customer Service Agent With Dissatisfied Customers? The Ninth Circuit Says No

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled against a failure-to accommodate claim brought by a customer service employee who was fired for poor performance. According to the court, the former employee, who suffered...more

Sign of the Times: EEOC Settles Case of Employer Failing to Provide ASL Interpreter for Job Interview

A deaf person applies for a job and the employee who takes applications asks you “how can a deaf person do this job?” What if an essential function of the job requires interaction with the public or the ability to communicate...more

Telework Under The ADA & Other Nondiscrimination Laws

A workforce that adheres to a traditional work style, or a consistent eight-hour workday in the same location – with no offsite work or interaction with business colleagues or customers – is increasingly becoming a relic in...more

The Fault Line Running Under “No Fault” Attendance Policies

Seyfarth Synopsis: Many employers have “no fault” attendance policies in place to manage employee absenteeism. Are these policies putting California employers on shaky ground? Read on... “No fault” attendance policies...more

The future of work: avoiding the nuclear reactor bird

There are lessons to be learnt about the future of work in one of my favourite episodes of The Simpsons titled ‘King-size Homer’, from the seventh season which aired over 20 years ago. As you may recall, Mr Burns tries...more

Amtrak to Pay $112,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Federal Agency Charged Railroad Company Refused to Hire Qualified Machinist Due to Epilepsy - SEATTLE -- The Washington, D.C.-based National Passenger Railroad Corporation, better known as Amtrak, will pay $112,000 and...more

Labor and Employment Group News: Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission Hit With Substantial Disability Discrimination Award

Private employers will feel faint satisfaction in learning that a Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) Hearing Officer has lowered the boom in a disability discrimination case on a state agency servicing...more

Fourth Circuit Rejects Motor Carrier's Defense in Refusing to Hire Driver Diagnosed with Narcolepsy

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers from refusing to hire qualified individuals with a disability on the basis of their condition, if they can perform the essential functions of the job with or without...more

CAS Legal Mailbag Question of the Week – May 2016

Dear Legal Mailbag: One of my teachers, Mal Content, has always been curt and lacking in compassion for his students. However, Mal seems to be getting worse and worse. Originally published in the CAS Weekly...more

EEOC issues new guidance on leave of absence and ADA accommodations

On May 9, 2016, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a new guidance document addressing the intersection of employer-provided leave of absence and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This...more

Clearly Defining the Essential Functions of the Job Can Make or Break Your ADA Case

As a recent federal appellate decision confirmed, the Americans with Disabilities Act does not require employers to always accommodate a disabled employee. Instead, it is the employee’s burden to first show that he or she...more

Permanent Light Duty Not Required Under ADA

Employers frequently offer light duty work as a means for injured employees to return to their regular job duties. Light duty is typically associated with employees with Workers’ Compensation related injuries. ...more

The Importance of Job Descriptions

The importance of having accurate job descriptions for employees was illustrated by a recent case. In that case, the employee was let go by an employer after suffering a non-work related injury that the employer believed...more

Eleventh Circuit Recognizes Pregnancy Complications as ADA Disability, but Says Employer Does Not Have to Waive Mandatory Overtime

The Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act significantly broadened the definition of protected disabled individuals under federal antidiscrimination law. In subsequent rules implementing ADAAA, the Equal Employment...more

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