Essential Functions

News & Analysis as of

Planning for a Government Shutdown

As described in detail in a recent Washington Update, there is once again a reasonable likelihood that we are headed for a government shutdown beginning Thursday, October 1. This article puts aside politics to focus on the...more

Light Duty Takes Hard Hit

Many employers have what they call “light duty” policies whereby they allow employees to continue working even though the employees are unable to perform some of the essential functions of their jobs. Very few employers can...more

The DOL Announces Final Rule for the Obama Administration’s 2014 Pay Transparency Executive Order

As we’ve previously covered here, on April 8, 2014 President Obama signed Executive Order 13665 (“Non-Retaliation for Disclosure of Compensation Information), at an event commemorating National Equal Pay Day, an annual public...more

Accommodations Legalese: 5 Key Terms Every Employer Should Know

It’s true in other areas of employment law as well, but in the world of disability discrimination law there are numerous phrases that have taken on special meaning and become true terms of art. Even those who are well-versed...more

OFCCP Issues Regulations on "Pay Transparency"

Today the U.S. Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs issued its Final Rule implementing Executive Order 13665, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating against employees and applicants who ask about or...more

Heralding Wholesale Changes for Manufacturers, Labor Board Revamps “Joint Employer” Test

Just in time for Labor Day, the National Labor Relations Board handed organized labor a great gift and potentially disrupted the business and labor relationships of thousands of American manufacturers. On August 27,...more

Employer Not Required to Accommodate Inability to Work Predictable Hours

In recent administrative actions, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has taken the position that regular attendance is not an essential job function under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The agency views...more

Death Threats Lead To Employer's ADA Victory

It is rare that the most employee-friendly of all federal appellate courts cites “common sense” in support of one of its decisions. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently did just that, however, dismissing a disability...more

Americans with Disabilities Act: Focusing on Reasonable Accommodations

Employees are asking for reasonable accommodations more often and for a wider array of medical conditions. The kinds of accommodations sought are more varied than ever, including working from home, extended leave, allowances...more

Ninth Circuit Says Employee Who Made Death Threats Against His Co-Workers Could Not Sue His Employer For Disability Discrimination

Joining similar holdings from several other circuits, the Ninth Circuit recently held in Mayo v. PCC Structurals, Inc. that a depressed employee who threatened to kill his co-workers and was thereafter fired was not a...more

The Ninth Circuit Joins Its Sister Circuits in Ruling That an Employee Who Threatens Co-Workers with Violence Is Not “Qualified”...

The Ninth Circuit released a precedent-setting Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) decision yesterday, and it’s a big win for employers.  The Court held that an employee who makes “serious and credible threats of violence...more

Does Your ADA Accommodation Have To Be Perfect, Or Can It Just Get The Job Done?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) requires that employers provide “reasonable accommodations” to those with disabilities to perform the essential functions of their jobs. These accommodations cannot impose an undue...more

Fourth Circuit Affirms EEOC’s Resounding Summary Judgment Defeat in ADA Case

In a case we have previously blogged about several times due to spoliation sanctions imposed on the EEOC – most recently here - the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed a ruling out of the Middle District of...more

New CFRA Amendments Take Effect July 1

On July 1, 2015, as previously reported, new California Family Rights Act ("CFRA") regulations will take effect. These amended regulations clarify areas of confusion and bring the CFRA into closer alignment with its federal...more

Telecommuting May Not Always Be a Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA

An en banc panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (Court) recently upheld the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Ford Motor Company in EEOC v. Ford Motor Company, on the basis that telecommuting was not...more

Second Circuit Upholds Employers' Use of Effective ADA Accommodation Over "Perfect" One Sought by Employee

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities in order for them to perform the essential functions of their jobs. Employers and...more

Supreme Court: Motive Matters in Hiring Decisions

Last week, in EEOC. v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., the Supreme Court addressed religious accommodations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The background of the case dates to 2008. A young woman...more

Two Good Reasons to Keep Your Company's Job Descriptions Current and Accurate

Job descriptions often fall to the bottom of the human resource “to do” list. An audit of almost any company’s job descriptions will reveal job descriptions that are outdated, vague and carried forward from the company’s...more

Bad News, Good News: Disability Discrimination Plaintiff Sometimes Need Not Show He Was Qualified, But May Never Recover Punitive...

In a decision to be officially released on May 19, 2015, the Connecticut Appellate Court has addressed two interesting issues in the state law of employment discrimination, one of which is of considerable importance (and...more

Even Under the ADA, Some Jobs Require Being On-Site; Court of Appeals Decision Offers Lessons

Last month in EEOC v. Ford Motor Co., 782 F.3d 753 (6th Cir. 2015) (en banc), the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit found that a Ford employee was not qualified for her job under the ADA because she was not...more

Being “Qualified” Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Being Able to Perform “Essential Functions” of Job

Back in September 2013, I reported on a seemingly never-ending case of Tomick v. UPS and mentioned that it was headed to its second appeal at the Connecticut Appellate Court. (I talked about the history of the case and the...more

Sixth Circuit Sides with Ford Motor Company in ADA Telecommuting Case

Employers often grapple with what constitutes a reasonable accommodation under the American with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). This issue becomes increasingly complex when evaluating whether telecommuting is an appropriate and...more

The ‘interactive process’ for handling work restrictions during pregnancy

Our first segments in our six-part series on pregnancy in the workplace focused on how the ADA, FMLA and PDA apply in the workplace to employees before, during, and after pregnancy and child birth. In this segment, we narrow...more

When Is Telecommuting a Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA?

Earlier this month, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals shared its perspective on this question and held that telecommuting was not a reasonable accommodation for an employee where her essential job duties required regular and...more

ADA “Direct Threat” Defense Just Got a Little Easier

The rights and protections afforded to those with disabilities by the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) are not without limitations. Accommodations for disabled employees must be reasonable, and the employee must still...more

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