A majority of US employers offer some sort of wellness program designed to reduce the cost of health insurance and healthcare costs, and to improve the health and well-being of employees. However, unless care is taken, even well-intentioned wellness programs may violate federal law.
EEOC Publishes Fact Sheet Describing the Application of Anti-Discrimination Laws to Victims of Gender-Based Violence
On October 12, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a new fact sheet titled: Application of Title VII and the ADA to Applicants or Employees Who Experience Domestic or Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, or Stalking. Employers may need to review and revise their anti-harassment, -discrimination, and -retaliation policies in light of this publication, which seems to extend gender and disability protections beyond traditional coverage.
Last week, in a case of first impression titled Kroll v. White Lake Ambulance Authority, the Sixth Circuit found that psychological counseling may qualify as a “medical examination” under the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”), which forbids employers from requiring medical exams unless they are job-related. The Circuit Court vacated the lower court’s ruling in favor of White Lake Ambulance Authority on summary judgment in a discrimination case brought by Emily Kroll, a former employee. Kroll had refused to attend psychological counseling mandated by White Lake after other employees reported concerns about Kroll’s well-being and White Lake received a complaint that Kroll had been screaming at a male acquaintance on her cell phone while driving an ambulance in emergency status with lights and sirens. The district court found that such psychological counseling alone did not constitute a medical examination.
On July 27, we published an entry written by David M. Katz, titled Morbid Obesity as a Covered Disability under the ADA. On August 10, David's entry was picked up and published in Employee Benefit News. Congratulations, David.
Almost two years ago, we wrote that the EEOC had filed its first-ever lawsuit asserting that “severe” obesity was a protectable disability under the ADA. That case, EEOC v. Resources for Human Development, Inc., provided little guidance to employers about where the EEOC would draw the line on when obesity is “severe” enough to constitute an ADA-protected disability. Although it is still unclear where that line is, it is now clear that the EEOC considers “morbid” obesity” to be a protectable disability under the ADA.
This case tests the limits of an employer’s attendance policy. Just how essential is showing up for work on a predictable basis? In the case of a neo-natal intensive care nurse, we conclude that attendance really is essential.
So begins the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Samper v. Providence St. Vincent Medical Center.
The Justice Department announced that the new ADA Standards for Accessible Design (“Standards”) went into effect last Thursday, March 15. The Standards were adopted as part of the 2010 revisions to the ADA regulations. The new requirements will provide accessibility for more than 54 million persons with disabilities at facilities subject to Title II of the ADA (state and local government buildings) and Title III of the ADA (public accommodations and commercial facilities).