Iowa Employment Law Blog

Iowa Employment Law Blog

Alert and inform about legal issues, risks, and solutions relating to employees

Category Archives: Disability Discrimination

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Does the ADA Require an Employer to Treat Disability Related Misconduct More Leniently?

Posted in Disability Discrimination, Human Resources Compliance
An employee commits an offense that would justify termination.  But, she asks for another chance because the misconduct was not intentional; it was caused by a diabetes induced severe drop in blood sugar that caused confusion and memory loss.    Must the employer be more lenient on an employee with a disability as a form of… Continue Reading

Accommodating Employees’ Mental Health Conditions Presents Unique Challenges

Posted in Disability Discrimination, Human Resources Compliance
Most employers know they are obligated under the ADA to accommodate mental as well as physical disabilities.  In theory that seems easy enough, but in practice mental health conditions are much more difficult to deal with than physical disabilities.   For example, a common problem is that the employer often lacks specific information about the nature… Continue Reading

Does the ADA Require Reassignment to a Vacant Position as a Reasonable Accommodation?

Posted in Disability Discrimination, Human Resources Compliance, Litigation and Trials
It’s an all too common situation: an employee’s medical condition results in permanent restrictions that prevent the employee from performing essential job functions that she used to be able to do.   It is not reasonable to modify the job so the employee can keep the position.   There is a vacancy in another department for which… Continue Reading

Is Time Off Work A Reasonable Accommodation?

Posted in Disability Discrimination, FMLA, Human Resources Compliance, Uncategorized
Most of us think about workplace accommodations as modifications that will allow an employee with a disability to perform his job.  Without the accommodation, doing the job may be difficult or impossible. Whether that means modifying the job duties, changing the schedule, or providing an assistive device, the ultimate objective is to help the employee… Continue Reading

Don’t Assume An Applicant Is Not Qualified Because a Doctor Says So…

Posted in Disability Discrimination, Human Resources Compliance, Litigation and Trials
A federal district court in Michigan recently granted summary judgment for the plaintiff, (you read that correctly), ruling that the employer was liable for disability discrimination as a matter of law. (Lafata v. Dearborn Heights Sch. Dist. No.7 (E.D. Mich. 12/11/2013)).   A plaintiff hardly ever files for summary judgment in an employment case, let alone… Continue Reading

Reinstatement of Jury Award After Employer Victory Shows Failure to Mitigate Defense Hard to Prove

Posted in Disability Discrimination, Litigation and Trials
The best outcome to a discrimination lawsuit from the employer’s perspective is to win outright—for the judge or jury to find that the employer did not unlawfully discriminate. But, even if you lose, there is a “Plan B” defense—the failure to mitigate damages.   An employee who is terminated (or not hired in the first place) can… Continue Reading

Employee Must Request Extension of Leave to Avoid Application of No-Fault Leave Policy

Posted in Disability Discrimination, Human Resources Compliance, Litigation and Trials
Fixed or no-fault leave policies were once considered easy way to manage attendance and long term leave of absence issues.   Once the employee reaches the maximum number of absences, or is gone the maximum number of weeks on medical leave, the employee is terminated; no questions asked, no exceptions.   The benefit of these kinds of… Continue Reading

Iowa Court of Appeals Rules that ADA Amendments Apply to Iowa Civil Rights Act, Even in the Absence of Legislative Action

Posted in Disability Discrimination, Iowa Appellate Courts, Litigation and Trials
A divided panel of the Iowa Court of Appeals recently ruled that the rules of construction in the ADA as amended in 2008 apply to the Iowa Civil RIghts Act when determining what constitutes a disability (Knudsen v. Tiger Tots Community Child Care Center, No. 2-1011, 1/9/13). Although Knudsen is a public accommodation and not an employment case, the opinion… Continue Reading

Weekly Web Roundup, October 30, 2009

Posted in Disability Discrimination, FMLA, Human Resources Compliance, Sex Discrimination, Title VII
The EEOC has revised its "Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law" poster.    The poster was revised to reflect new federal employment laws, including the ADA Amendments, and the Genetic Non Discrimination in Employment Act ("GINA").  Employers can either obtain a new poster, or a supplement their existing poster.   The new posting is mandatory effective November 21, 2009. … Continue Reading

Weekly Web Roundup

Posted in Disability Discrimination, Human Resources Compliance, Wage and Hour
The biggest news this week is the EEOC’s release of the proposed regulations for the ADA Amendments Act of 2009.   This post from Jackson Lewis provides some of the highlights.   Note that these are proposed regulations.  There is a 60 day period during which the EEOC will receive comments.  After considering the comments, the EEOC will… Continue Reading

Obesity as a Protected Class?

Posted in Disability Discrimination, Employee Wellness, Human Resources Compliance
This post in HR Observations (Hat tip: Ohio Employer’s Law Blog) explores whether obesity could be the next characteristic to become protected under the anti-discrimination laws.   A group called the "Obesity Action Coalition" complains that discrimination against obese people is widespread.  Employer concern about rising costs associated with employee health coverage, workers’ compensation costs,  and an emphasis on employee wellness… Continue Reading

Good News on the ADA–One More Court Rules the Amendments Are Not Retroactive

Posted in Disability Discrimination
Earlier this year, we identified the Amendments to the ADA–known as the "ADAAA" –as one of the top human resources challenges of 2009.   The amendments became effective January 1, 2009.   One of the most significant changes in the new law as compared to the old ADA concerns the definition of "disability".   One of Congress intentions in the ADAAA was… Continue Reading

Does Your Company Wellness Plan Discriminate?

Posted in Disability Discrimination, Employee Wellness, Human Resources Compliance
A recent study of Iowa employers revealed that 51 percent offered some type of health screening to their employees.  Many companies also offer other "wellness" benefits to encourage employees to exercise and adopt healthy lifestyles.   The wellness program of a prominent Des Moines employer was recently profiled in the Des Moines Register (link here).  Company… Continue Reading

Human Resources Challeges for 2009

Posted in Disability Discrimination, Human Resources Compliance, Sex Discrimination
A recent post at Human Resources Executive Online, entitled "Warnings from the Top".  provides an excellent overview of some of the new challenges employers have been presented since the beginning of 2009.   "Like it or not" say the authors, changes are coming, and employers better be prepared. According to several attorneys the authors interviewed, some… Continue Reading