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The case of the $79,000 rubber gloves

When a dairy worker learned she was allergic to rubber and plastics, she asked to wear different gloves at work. The company said “no,” forced her to leave work when she had allergic flare-ups, then fired her for too many absences.

EEOC, DOJ warn about AI and disability bias

The EEOC and the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice have released guidance on how employers can avoid discriminating against disabled applicants and employees when using artificial intelligence software or other algorithmic tools to make HR decisions.

Appeal? Think twice about fighting losing battles

In July 2021, we reported on a case in which a fired Walmart employee with Down syndrome won a disability discrimination lawsuit. A jury ordered the retailer to rehire her with back pay—and awarded her $125 million in damages (an amount later capped at $300,000 under Title VII). Now Walmart has appealed.

FMLA ending? Prepare to offer ‘ADA leave’

Employers are required to reinstate workers who are ready to return from FMLA leave. Often, that’s contingent on a health care professional’s assessment that the employee is well enough to perform his or her job duties. But what if the employee can’t pass a fitness-for-duty exam?

Cost of an unwanted birthday party: $450,000

Pro tip for managers: Listen to your employees! It generally makes for a more harmonious and productive workplace. In the following case, it could have prevented an unforced error that wound up costing an employer a six-figure jury award.

Document all accommodation conversations

Here’s the best way to prevent (or win) a lawsuit claiming you failed to follow the ADA’s interactive accommodations rules: Document every conversation, email, text or phone call related to disability accommodations. Create a chronological log showing what the employee requested, when and how you responded.

Beware medical inquiries before making job offer

When hiring, asking the wrong question can be an expensive mistake. In one recent case, a worker who wasn’t even looking for a job walked away with a $75,000 payday because of a prospective employer’s ill-conceived question.

Disabled new hire? Prepare to grant time off

If a new employee reveals what may be a disability and asks for time off, you have to consider that request as you would any other request for a reasonable accommodation. That’s true even if the request comes shortly after you make the job offer.

Accommodate covid-related disabilities

Now that the pandemic seems to be loosening its grip and something resembling pre-covid life begins to take shape, your organization may be considering bringing more workers back into an office setting. Some employees will welcome the move. Others, however, may seek disability accommodations for the first time. Here’s how to handle covid-related requests for reasonable accommodations.

Yes, covid-19 may qualify as an ADA disability

Generally, a short-lived illness isn’t considered an ADA disability.  But now a federal court has ruled that an employee with covid-19 rather than the common flu may be covered by the ADA. That means firing him for missing work instead of reasonably accommodating the absence violates the ADA.