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ADA: Employee with insomnia isn’t necessarily disabled

Pushed to do more with less, many employers are asking employees to work longer hours. That can cause workers to lose sleep and may even result in diagnoses of insomnia. But not everyone who is sleep deprived and takes medication to sleep is disabled and entitled to reasonable accommodations, such as a shorter workday.

Think odd employee might benefit from mental exam? Talk to a lawyer first

Let’s face it: Some employees are a bit strange. Sometimes, their behavior may even be an indication of serious mental health problems. But before you rush to demand the employee get counseling or see a doctor, remember that the ADA prohibits such requests unless there is a clear business necessity for the exam.

Court: ADA class-actions generally won’t fly

Because the ADA requires employees to show they are disabled based on individual restrictions, a class-action lawsuit against an employer isn’t appropriate in most cases.

Assess ADA disability against average ability

The ADA doesn’t cover everyone who has any kind of medical problem. Even something like complete deafness in one ear may not be enough to make an employee disabled.

How do part-timers affect ADA, MHRA thresholds?

Q. We currently have 15 employees, but several work part time. Are we required to provide reasonable accommodations under the ADA or the MHRA?

Medical certification of need for accommodation is unclear?

Q. An employee requested an accommodation for a medical issue. We asked her to provide a note from her medical provider regarding the need for accommodation. She brought in a note but it’s unclear what the physician is trying to say. What should we do?

ADA accommodation may not be possible, but explore the options

Under the ADA and the MHRA, disabled workers are entitled to reasonable accommodations. Deciding what’s reasonable requires an interactive process in which both employer and employee discuss options that allow the employee to perform essen­­tial job functions. The employer then can choose which accommodation it prefers.

‘Magic word’ not needed for accommodation


By now, you are probably familiar with the idea your FMLA obligations are triggered when employees provide enough information for you to reasonably understand that they might need FMLA leave. They don’t need to say any “magic words.” It’s the same with requests for reasonable accommodations under the ADA.

Flip-side of Yahoo debate: Is flextime required?


Yahoo’s CEO got caught in a major media firestorm over her decision to eliminate employees’ work-from-home options. But employers should not get Yahoo’s business mandate confused with the legal obligations of every U.S. employer to consider flexible work arrangements for their disabled employees.

Poorly timed physical costs NYPD in ADA case

The NYPD has agreed to a settlement in a disability discrimination case filed by the U.S. Department of Justice. An applicant for a school crossing guard position had filed the complaint and later sued, alleging that the NYPD required a physical examination im­­mediately upon completion of a job application.