Essential Functions Americans with Disabilities Act

News & Analysis as of

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

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

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

Fourth Circuit Says Driving May Not Be Essential Job Function for Traveling Salesperson

Most employers would assume that a traveling salesperson who could no longer drive due to a medical condition cannot perform the essential functions of her job. The Americans with Disabilities Act only requires accommodations...more

Is Driving An “Essential Function Of The Job” For Your Road Warriors?

If your employee isn’t a professional driver but spends a lot of time on the road, how “essential” a job function is driving for ADA purposes? Is driving “essential” at all? In what I consider to be a very significant...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

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

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

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

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