Law and the Workplace

Category Archives: Accessibility & Accommodation

Subscribe to Accessibility & Accommodation RSS Feed

California Court Rules That Retailer Must Make Its Website Accessible For Users With Visual Disabilities Under the ADA

Man using smartphoneIn a significant decision for all businesses that maintain an online presence, a California court recently ruled that a luggage retailer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and California state law by failing to make its website accessible to a blind customer. This summary judgment decision is noteworthy because in addition to holding that … Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit Holds That Obesity That Is Not Caused By an Underlying Physiological Condition Is Not a Covered “Impairment” Under the ADA

In Morriss v. BNSF Railway Company, the Eighth Circuit recently held that obesity that is not caused by an underlying physiological condition is not a covered “impairment” for purposes of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), even following the 2008 amendments to the ADA that broadened the definition of what is considered a protected disability. … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Weighs In On Breadth Of The Rehabilitation Act

Recently, a split has continued among the Circuit Courts as to whether Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act permits employment discrimination suits by independent contractors. On February 1, 2016, the Fifth Circuit joined the Ninth Circuit and held that it does.  The decision is a good reminder that the Rehabilitation Act has a broader reach … Continue Reading

DOJ Announces Postponement of the Release of Proposed Web Accessibility Regulations for Public Accommodations Until 2018

Man using smartphoneBusinesses awaiting guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on accessibility of online content for places of public accommodation under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) were once again disappointed when the DOJ recently announced that it is pushing back the release of its proposed regulations until fiscal year 2018. As … Continue Reading

U.S. Access Board Releases the Latest in a Series of Guidance on Accessible Design Requirements Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

Retail stores, restaurants, event venues, and other places of public accommodation seeking guidance on accessible design requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) should be aware of the latest installment of technical bulletins recently released by the U.S. Access Board, the federal agency tasked with developing accessible design criteria for individuals with disabilities. The … Continue Reading

The Americans with Disabilities Act at 25 Years: A Look Back and What’s Ahead

This Sunday marked the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), which was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990. The enactment of the ADA represented a bipartisan commitment to fight discrimination against individuals with disabilities in many aspects of everyday life, including in the workplace and in … Continue Reading

DOJ Releases Supplemental Guidance on Service Animals Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

With the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) just two weeks away, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has released a new technical assistance document addressing frequently asked questions regarding service animals and the ADA.   This additional guidance is intended to be read in conjunction with the DOJ’s previous July 2011 technical … Continue Reading

EEOC Updates Pregnancy Discrimination Guidance

Last week, the EEOC announced an update to its Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues (“Enforcement Guidance”) to reflect the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Young v. UPS. As we blogged about in March, the Court in Young articulated a new standard applicable to claims brought under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”), when … Continue Reading

Proposed Web Accessibility Regulations for Public Accommodations Delayed Yet Again

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has once again pushed back the anticipated issue date for proposed regulations governing accessibility of online content for places of public accommodation governed by Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to the recently released Spring 2015 Unified Agenda, the proposed regulations, which had last been slated … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Holds Failure to Accommodate Religion May Be Evidence of Intentional Discrimination

Today the U.S. Supreme Court held in favor of the EEOC in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Store Stores, Inc. The EEOC claimed that Abercrombie violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) by refusing to hire a Muslim applicant who wears a headscarf for religious reasons.  The decision, penned by … Continue Reading

EEOC Releases Proposed Rule on Employee Wellness Plans

Yesterday, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a long awaited proposed rule on employee wellness programs. The rule is designed to help companies structure such programs to meet their obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA prohibits medical exams that are not job related and consistent with business necessity but permits … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Announces New Standard for Pregnancy Discrimination Claims

On Wednesday the U.S. Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision in Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS), which involves a claim of pregnancy discrimination under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). Young, a UPS driver, claimed that UPS intentionally discriminated against her by refusing to accommodate her pregnancy-related lifting restriction by transferring her to a … Continue Reading

EEOC Takes First Step Toward Issuing Rules on Employer-Sponsored Wellness Plans

On March 20, 2015, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) announced its submission of a notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”) on employer-sponsored wellness plans to the White House Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) for review. This is the first step toward official EEOC regulations on the subject of wellness plans. Assuming the OMB provides … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Governor Signs Parental Leave Bill

On January 7, 2015, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law a Parental Leave bill, which significantly amends Mass. Gen. L. ch. 149, section 105D.  Before the amendment, the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act (“MMLA”) provided eight weeks of job-protected leave to female employees for the birth or adoption of a child. Now, however, among other expansive … Continue Reading

The Top 10 Trends in New Jersey Employment Law in 2014

2014 was another busy year for developments in New Jersey employment law, including in ten key areas—whistleblowing, pre-employment inquiries/background checks, amendments to the Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”), LAD litigation, wage and hour, the Family Medical Leave Act, sick leave, states of emergency, arbitration, and “unemployment discrimination.”  Read our Top 10 newsletter to learn more about … Continue Reading

EEOC Wellness Program Suits Highlight Need for Agency Guidance

The EEOC has been pursuing litigation against wellness programs of late, arguing that certain health plan penalties render participation in wellness program health screens “involuntary” and thus violate Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits medical exams unless they are  voluntary or  are job-related and consistent with business necessity.  (See recent blog post about this.)  Senate Republicans rightly criticized the EEOC general counsel … Continue Reading

The District Of Columbia Enacts New Employee Protections, Requires Reasonable Accommodation for Pregnant Employees

Following the example of several other states and municipalities, the Council of the District of Columbia recently enacted (and the Mayor of the District of Columbia recently signed) the Protecting Pregnant Workers Fairness Act of 2014 (the “Act”).  The Act requires employers to provide reasonable workplace accommodations for workers whose ability to perform the functions … Continue Reading

Accessible Technology

As most of our readers know, companies that are federal contractors and subcontractors are subject to new rules (which became effective on March 24, 2014) with respect to individuals with disabilities.   The new rules amended 41 CFR part 60-741, the nondiscrimination and affirmative action provisions of section 503  of the Rehabilitation Act and expanded the obligations … Continue Reading

Philadelphia Requires Reasonable Accommodation of Nursing Mothers

On September 3, Philadelphia made it unlawful for an employer to fail to reasonably accommodate the need to express breast milk, where the accommodation does not impose an undue hardship.  The new law, which is now in effect, amends the city’s fair practices ordinance.  Reasonable accommodations under the law include providing unpaid break time or … Continue Reading

EEOC Takes Aim at Employers with “Voluntary” Wellness Programs Tied to Health Benefit Costs

On Tuesday, the EEOC commenced its second lawsuit in as many months targeting certain employer wellness programs for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  In both of the pending cases, employers are alleged to have maintained wellness programs that required employees to submit to medical examinations (including blood work) and to disclose medical history … Continue Reading

Update: It’s Time For A Close Up: DOJ Announces Proposed Rule That Would Require Movie Theaters to Provide Closed Captioning and Audio Description

The Attorney General recently announced that the deadline for providing public comment on the aforementioned NPRM regarding captioning and audio description in movie theaters has been extended for an additional sixty days from September 30, 2014 to December 1, 2014.  The extension was granted based upon a public request citing the number and complexity of … Continue Reading

Update: It’s Time For A Close Up: DOJ Announces Proposed Rule That Would Require Movie Theaters to Provide Closed Captioning and Audio Description

Starting today, August 1, 2014, and until September 30, 2014, DOJ is seeking public comment on a number of issues related to the aforementioned NPRM regarding captioning and audio description in movies theaters.  This includes the issue mentioned above regarding whether closed captioning and audio description requirements should also apply to theaters showing movies in … Continue Reading

It’s Time For A Close Up: DOJ Announces Proposed Rule That Would Require Movie Theaters to Provide Closed Captioning and Audio Description

On July 25, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced the impending publication of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) covering closed captioning and audio description requirements for movie theaters.  This NPRM seeks to create a consistent nationwide standard for theaters to exhibit movies that are available with closed captioning and audio description at … Continue Reading

eBay and National Federation of the Blind Pair Up for Web Accessibility Initiative

Online marketplace eBay and the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) recently announced a partnership aimed to enhance the accessibility of eBay’s website and mobile applications.  This “Web 2.0 Sustainable Accessibility Partnership Agreement” aims to provide individuals with visual impairments increased access to the goods and services available on eBay by optimizing the use of … Continue Reading
LexBlog