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ADA covers temporary disabilities, too

The ADA was enacted 18 years ago, but it’s still one of the most misunderstood employment laws. The hard part isn’t necessarily determining how to accommodate disabled employees. It’s figuring out which employees are disabled.

Classic ADA accommodation: Adjust work schedule

Schedule changes may be inconvenient, but they’re an easy way to accommodate many disabilities. Courts aren’t likely to sympathize with employers that refuse to adjust a disabled employee’s schedule.

ADA: Obesity isn’t a disability … or is it?

More than one-third of American adults—some 72 million people—are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But generally, obesity alone does not qualify as a disability under the ADA. A recent federal appellate court decision agrees with that premise.

Warn bosses: No comments on worker health

Supervisors sometimes say things that are clearly best left unsaid—such as fears that an employee’s protected characteristics or activities might cost the company money!

Poor review alone isn’t enough to win lawsuit

Employees generally must show they suffered an adverse employment action before they can win a discrimination lawsuit. Merely receiving a poor evaluation, without other consequences, isn’t enough.

Focus reviews on performance, not emotions

When you evaluate an employee who isn’t living up to performance expectations, avoid commenting on her emotional state. Focus on objective criteria like unmet goals or sales quotas. Otherwise, you risk a lawsuit claiming discrimination on the basis of disability.

How the ADA treats alcoholism and addiction

Dealing with an employee who is struggling with alcohol or drug abuse is one of HR’s most difficult issues. Don’t make a delicate task even harder by running afoul of the ADA.

In addition to applicants and staff, your customers have ADA rights, too

Employers tend to focus on accommodating disabled applicants and employees, but forget about accommodating disabled customers. They may not worry about accessibility unless a disabled applicant or employee asks for accommodations. That can be a mistake.

Neither ADA nor FMLA require indefinite leave

Disabled workers with serious health conditions have other time-off options once FMLA leave expires. But there is no requirement for employers to provide continuous, indefinite leave based on the mere hope that the worker will soon be able to return to work.

Asking for 3rd medical opinion gets a lawsuit in reply

Brock Services, a Houston maintenance company, faces an EEOC lawsuit after it terminated a scaffolding team leader due to his impaired vision.