What is happening in employment law? We will be providing you with quick employment law updates on a bi-monthly basis in a new series called “The Bubbler.” It will let you know what’s what and who’s who in the continually-evolving, ever-important, hard-to-keep-track-of employment law world. The Bubbler delivers current events and other important news to our readers without the time or the interest to piece through the recent legislation, the ever-growing release of regulations and other agency guidance and the lengthy court decisions. We’re your colleagues at the water cooler who tell you just enough to pique your interest (but then provide links to satisfy your curiosity). Enjoy!
The obligation to accommodate a disabled employee is an ongoing one; a doctor’s note may not be a prerequisite to engage in the interactive process – those are two important lessons that employers should take away from a recent decision by a California Federal district court.
Over the course of a career many workers experience the displeasure of dealing with a difficult supervisor — the type of individual whose mere presence in the workplace is a source of dread and whose name inspires feelings of fear and loathing whenever it appears on a subordinate’s caller ID or the sender line of an email. But according to the California Court of Appeals, the apprehension this situation engenders does not qualify as a disability and does not give rise to a cause of action under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.
Written by Michael Arnold
61 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Let me repeat: 61 hot dogs in 10 minutes. That’s an incredible 6.1 hotdogs per minute! But for competitive eating champion Joey Chestnut, it was just another day at the office. Chestnut took home his 5th consecutive July 4th Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest trophy. What made this one all the more (ful)filling was that Mr. Chestnut found the time just before the starting gun went off to propose to his girlfriend (she said yes). The cocktail hour at that wedding should be really interesting given that this is a man who once ate 12.8 pounds of deep fried asparagus in 10 minutes, 78 matzoh balls in 8 minutes and 141 hardboiled eggs also in 8 minutes. Yum.
Here’s another thing about Joey Chestnut: up until this summer, he had a day job in construction management in San Jose. And I wonder if his employer offered him and his co-workers an opportunity to participate in an employee wellness program, and if so, whether it would have tried to “persuade” Chestnut to participate?
Written by Erin C. Horton
The EEOC recently invited public input on potential revisions to the regulations implementing Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act, which governs the federal government’s employment of individuals with disabilities. Specifically, the EEOC seeks to explain, for the first time, what Section 501’s mandate that the federal government “shall be a model employer of individuals with disabilities” means in concrete terms. Any resulting regulations would apply solely to public employees. But private employers should keep abreast of how the EEOC defines a “model employer,” as such definition could help inform future interpretations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which apply to most private employees.
Two recent victories for the EEOC should remind employers that rejecting a job applicant over a medical condition, even when the condition appears directly related to job performance, can expose the employer to serious legal consequences under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
Written by Erin C. Horton
Judge Selya’s recent First Circuit opinion in Rivera-Diaz v. Humana Insurance of Puerto Rico, Inc., hammers home the importance of strictly abiding by Title VII’s procedural requirements for filing discrimination claims in federal court under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – in particular the requirement that a plaintiff must file his or her complaint no later than 90 days after the EEOC issues a right-to-sue letter.
I just read a very interesting article. titled “Furor over DSM-V.” Apparently, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association as a diagnostic tool), is in the process of being revised (for the fifth time, hence “V”). Details of the proposed changes were recently released and, if implemented in their current form, may significantly impact employers’ obligation to accommodate disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act.