As employers continue to react to and prepare for workplace challenges due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak around the country, the EEOC has updated some of its guidance on the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Rehabilitation Act. The EEOC addresses situations such as whether employer can require that employees showing symptoms
americans with disabilities act
The Ninth Circuit Joins Its Sister Circuits in Ruling That an Employee Who Threatens Co-Workers with Violence Is Not “Qualified” Under the ADA
The Ninth Circuit released a precedent-setting Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) decision yesterday, and it’s a big win for employers. The Court held that an employee who makes “serious and credible threats of violence toward his co-workers” is not a “qualified individual with a disability” and therefore cannot state a claim under the ADA or Oregon disability law. Karen O’Connor, Brenda Baumgart and Andrea Thompson from Stoel Rives represented the employer in this case, Mayo v. PCC Structurals, Inc., and a link to the Court’s decision is here.
Plaintiff’s Stress Leads to Death Threats in the Workplace
Plaintiff was a long-term welder at an industrial facility. Despite a 1999 diagnosis of major depressive disorder, he worked without significant issue for decades. In 2010, plaintiff and a few co-workers claimed a supervisor bullied them at work. Shortly after a meeting among plaintiff, a co-worker and the company’s HR director to discuss the supervisor, plaintiff began making threatening comments. He told a co-worker that he “felt like coming down to [the facility] with a shotgun and blowing off” the heads of his supervisor and a different manager. Among other comments, he also told other co-workers that he planned to come to the facility during the day shift “to take out management” and that he “wanted to bring a gun down to [the facility] and start shooting people.”…
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The EEOC Reiterates the Importance of the Interactive Process
A recent decision from the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reminds employers of their affirmative duty to engage in an interactive process once an employee raises a medical condition and requests some change to their work environment to accommodate it. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Rehabilitation Act at issue in Harden v. Social …
Service Animals Limited to Dogs and Some Miniature Horses Under New ADA Rules
As reported in the Oregonian, the Department of Justice this week implemented amendments to a number of regulations governing Title II and Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Title II of the ADA applies to public entities, while Title III applies to public accommodation. While the new rules do not apply to Title…
Medical Marijuana and Zero Tolerance Drug Testing Policies Remain An Issue For Employers
Employers and the courts continue to wrestle with issues involving “zero tolerance” drug testing policies and whether employers must accommodate medical marijuana use by their employees. Marijuana use is illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act, and therefore does not need to be accommodated under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). However, 15 states currently have…
Ninth Circuit Holds “One-Strike” Drug Testing Rule Does Not Violate ADA
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday held in Lopez v. Pacific Maritime Association that an employer’s one-strike drug testing policy for applicants does not violate the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The one-strike policy in question stated that the company would never hire any applicant who tested positive on a pre-employment drug screening. All applicants were…
Oregon Supreme Court: Employers Are Not Required to Accommodate Medical Marijuana
Yesterday the Oregon Supreme Court conclusively ruled that employers are not required to accommodate the use of medical marijuana in the workplace, ending years of doubt and confusion on this critical issue. Click here to read the Court’s opinion in Emerald Steel Fabricators, Inc. v. Bureau of Labor and Industries.
In Emerald Steel…
9th Circuit: No Compensatory or Punitive Damages in ADA Retaliation Cases
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently limited the remedies available to employees who sue for retaliation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), ruling that the statute does not provide for punitive damages, compensatory damages or a jury trial in ADA retaliation cases. Click here to read the decision in Alvarado v. Cajun Operating Co.
Mr. Alvarado worked as a cook in defendant’s restaurant. He complained after his supervisor made allegedly discriminatory remarks related to his age and disability, and shortly afterward he received several disciplinary write-ups for poor performance. After Mr. Alvarado was ultimately terminated, he sued his former employer for, among other things, retaliation under the ADA. Prior to trial, the federal district court granted defendant’s motion in limine, barring plaintiff from seeking punitive and compensatory damages, and a jury trial, on his ADA retaliation claim on the grounds that the statute provided only equitable relief for such claims.
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling by holding that the plain, unambiguous language of the ADA remedy provisions specifically enumerate only those sections of the act for which compensatory and punitive damages (and a jury trial) are available, and that the ADA anti-retaliation provision is not included in that list. Somewhat surprisingly considering the laws at issue have been on the books since 1991, the Ninth Circuit appears to be only the third Circuit Court of Appeals to have been presented with the issue, after the Seventh and Fourth Circuits (which reached similar conclusions). The court also noted that several district courts in other circuits had reached the opposite conclusion (perhaps most surprising of all), by ignoring the text of the remedy provision and instead emphasizing the overall structure of the ADA and the “expansive” intent of the 1991 amendments.
For now, the law in the Ninth Circuit on this question is clear: while still entitled to compensatory or punitive damages in disability discrimination or failure to accommodate claims under the ADA, employees may not receive those damages for ADA retaliation claims.…
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Our Festivus Present to Oregon Employers: Ten Things You Should Know for 2010
Wow, it’s Festivus already, which means that in just a few short days it will be a brand new year! We have a Festivus present for Oregon employers to help you get ready: Ten things you need to know for 2010! (click on each blue hotlink for more information)
- All Oregon employers are required to post the SB
9th Circuit: Independent Contractor Can Assert Disability Claim Under Rehabilitation Act
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled recently that an independent contractor may assert a disability claim against an employer under the Rehabilitation Act. Click the link to read the opinion on Fleming v. Yuma Regional Medical Center.
The Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs conducted by Federal agencies, in…