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Beware presumptions about alcoholism

Alcoholism may be an FMLA-covered serious health condition. If an employee returns to work after taking FMLA leave to rehab from a drinking problem, warn supervisors to check their presumptions about alcoholism. Doing or saying the wrong thing could violate the FMLA, the ADA or both.

EEOC suit: Goodwill refused to accommodate disability

Goodwill Industries of New York and New Jersey, which provides job opportunities to people with disabilities, violated federal law when it failed to provide reasonable accommodations that would have allowed an employee to continue working as an office building janitor in New York City, the EEOC charged in a recently filed lawsuit.

Avoid preconceptions about what disabled employees can and cannot do

Stick to the tasks you’ve identified as essential. Don’t change the list of essential job functions based on what you think you know about the disability.

Reasonable accommodation offered and refused? You have met your ADA obligations

If it’s clear there’s no reasonable accommodation that will allow the worker to perform his present job, then the employer is free to offer another position he can perform, even if it pays less. If the worker refuses the offer, then he has ended the interactive process.

Know when more ‘ADA leave’ is unreasonable

Time off can be a reasonable ADA accommodation. But it’s not reasonable to grant leave if it won’t help the worker return to work on a regular basis, when her presence is essential.

ADA process ends once request is granted

What happens if the employer and the disabled employee immediately agree on an accommodation? A California appeals court has ruled that the interactive process can end right there.

Court won’t referee popularity contest: Being disliked isn’t grounds for lawsuit

Some workers seem to believe that any slight or negative comment is grounds for a discrimination lawsuit. Fortunately, that’s not the case.

Most self-medication with marijuana remains illegal, and is grounds for discharge

A federal court has ruled that a worker’s self-administration of an illegal drug for pain relief was grounds for discharge under an employer’s drug policy.

Don’t assume disability because of prescription

If you learn an employee is taking a prescription containing a controlled substance, make sure you don’t make assumptions about disability. You don’t want to be accused of violating ADA “regarded as disabled” provisions.

ADA: Beware job descriptions so rigid that accommodations become impossible

Employers may reject a proposed disability accommodation out of hand, thinking every job requirement is truly essential to getting the work done. But courts want to see some flexibility.