Trainings & Events
- Differences between someone who is deemed to have a "serious health condition" versus someone who is a "qualified individual with a disability" and how this affects ADA coverage
- How and when medical inquiries can be used to determine coverage under the ADA and FMLA
- Situations where both ADA and FMLA apply
- How FMLA might differ at the federal versus state level
- Differing reinstatement requirements under ADA versus FMLA
- Undue Hardship
- Recent or emerging cases surrounding these issues
- Provide background information regarding the nature of environmental sensitivities including how these disabilities impact individual lives.
- Discuss the prevalence of chemical and electrical sensitivities in the general population.
- Review some of the key public policy issues surrounding the rights of people with environmental sensitivities.
- Highlight the importance of indoor environmental quality to enhanced access for people with these disabilities.
- Discuss what policies and practices can improve access for people with chemical and electrical sensitivities.
- Understand how to reduce or eliminate environmental barriers to promote accommodations for people with environmental sensitivities.
- Review advocacy initiatives that promise to advance medical and disability research, enhance understanding, and promote access for impacted populations.
News from the Federal Agencies
U.S. Access Board
Board Releases Guidance on Playground Surfaces - United States Access Board
New guidance on selecting and installing playground surfaces is now available from the Access Board. Developed by the National Center on Accessibility (NCA) at Indiana University with funding from the Access Board, the guide, "Seven Things Every Playground Owner Should Know About the Accessibility of Their Playground Surfaces", outlines key considerations and steps in selecting, installing, and maintaining playground surfaces to ensure accessibility and compliance with accessibility standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Seed and Fertilizer Providers to Pay $187,500 for Genetic Information and Disability Discrimination
Three Southern California seed and fertilizer providers - All Star Seed, Inc., La Valle Sabbia and Abatti - will pay $187,500 to settle a discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The lawsuit had been filed on behalf of a class of job applicants who were subjected to illegal medical and genetic information inquiries.
EEOC and Chicago-Area Marshmallow Maker Reach Accord in Disability Suit
Doumak, Inc., a longtime Chicago-area marshmallow manufacturer, has agreed to change its leave policies to resolve a disability discrimination suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced. In its complaint, the EEOC alleged that the company had capped the duration of leaves of absence at its Elk Grove Village and Bensenville, Ill., manufacturing facilities, without making appropriate exceptions for people with disabilities.
Randall Ford to Pay $128,750 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit
Car dealership Randall Ford in Fort Smith, Ark., will pay $128,750 as part of the settlement of a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The EEOC's lawsuit challenged Randall Ford's treatment of a used-car manager when the company refused to accommodate his disability following surgery on his spine. Among other things, the manager had asked permission to make greater use of a cart that he and other employees already used from time to time.
Baywood Home Care to Pay $30,000
A Minneapolis-area home health care provider will pay $30,000 under a consent decree entered here which resolves a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC lawsuit charged that Baywood Home Care violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to provide Laurie Goodnough with a reasonable accommodation, and instead firing her as a home health aide.
Jury Finds In Favor Of EEOC
In a verdict in favor of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a jury has found that a licensed security guard with only one arm was unlawfully discriminated against based on his limb loss when his employer, removed him from his post following a customer complaint about his disability. The EEOC lawsuit charged Florida Commercial Security Services with disability discrimination when it removed the employee from his security guard position.
Wal-Mart Stores East Will Pay $72,500 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit
Wal-Mart Stores East, L.P., will pay $72,500 and provide significant equitable relief to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit. According to the EEOC lawsuit Wal-Mart failed to reasonably accommodate an applicant for a drug test After the applicant disclosed that she cannot produce urine because she has end-stage renal disease.
EEOC Chair Yang Calls for Renewed Effort to Hire People with Disabilities
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC) Chair Jenny Yang spoke at a White House event celebrating "Champions of Change" who are doing extraordinary work to hire, retain, and promote people with disabilities in their local communities and throughout the nation. The event was held in conjunction with National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
Justice Department Reaches Agreement with Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center
The Justice Department announced that it has reached a settlement agreement under title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with the Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Under the settlement, the hotel agreed to take steps to come into compliance with title III of the ADA, including improving accessibility related to parking areas, bars and dining areas, toilet rooms, designated accessible guest rooms, and the spa at the hotel.
Swedish Edmonds Hospital Reaches Settlement Agreement with Justice Department
The U.S. Department of Justice and Swedish Edmonds Hospital have entered into a settlement agreement to remedy alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington began the investigation after a complainant, who is deaf, alleged that during an emergency room visit to the hospital for her 13-year-old son she requested a sign language interpreter, but none was provided.
Justice Department Publishes "Solutions for Five Common ADA Access Problems at Polling Places"
The Justice Department published a new technical assistance publication about polling place access for voters with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The publication, Solutions for Five Common ADA Access Problems at Polling Places, is intended to provide election officials with solutions for addressing common barriers for physical access to polling places for voters with disabilities.
Great Lakes In Focus
Joint guidance on effective communication for students with disabilities in public schools issued by Justice Department and Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division together with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services issued joint guidance about the rights of public elementary and secondary students with hearing, vision or speech disabilities to effective communication.
Read about "Frequently Asked Questions on Effective Communication for Students with Hearing, Vision, or Speech Disabilities in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools" at www.ada.gov/doe_doj_eff_comm/doe_doj_eff_comm_faqs.htm
Kourimihelakis v. Hartford Fire Ins. Co., 30 AD Cases 1349 (D. Conn. 2014)
A former sales consultant for Hartford Insurance Company filed an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuit against his former employer alleging discrimination on the basis of association. The individual in his law suit argued that Hartford Insurance terminated his employment because he was caring for his father who had suffered a stroke. The employee held an exempt position which was not subject to the employer's tardiness policy. Dispite that fact the former employee was written up and subsequently terminated for violating the tardiness policy.
The court found that the employee had stated a plausible claim for associational discrimination under the ADA. The employee alleged that his father was disabled, that he regularly was required to care for his father, that he periodically was unable to report to work on time due to his duties in caring for his father, that the employer was aware of his father's disability and that this was the reason for the employee's tardiness, that the employee made requests to change his work hours but his requests were denied, and that he was terminated because of the known disability of his father. The court found that these allegations supported a reasonable inference that the company's decision to terminate the employee was based on a belief that the employee would have to miss additional time at work in the future in order to take care of his disabled father.
From the ADA Expert
Question:I experienced my second seizure at work in the past week. These were the first seizures I have had in over a year and the first ones that have occurred at work. My employer now wants me to provide documentation from my physician. What information am I required to provide and what information does my employer have the right to receive from me under the ADA? Can my employer share this information with my co-workers?Answer:
The ADA prohibits covered employers from discriminating on the basis of disability against qualified individuals with disabilities in all employment practices. A covered employer is one with 15 or more full or part-time employees. An employer may hire, fire, or promote the most qualified individual he/she chooses. The ADA prohibits that covered employer from making the decision on whom to hire, fire, or promote on the basis of disability.
An employer in certain instances has the right to request medical information that is job related and consistent with business necessity. If an employee is having difficulty performing the job and the employer based on objective information has a reasonable belief that it is related to a medical condition or disability or that the individual may be a direct threat to the health and safety of himself/herself or others then the employer has the right to receive limited medical information.
The employer has the right to information from an employee indicating that the employee is able to perform the job or essential functions of the position or that the employee is not a direct threat to himself/herself or to others. Direct threat means that there is a significant risk of substantial harm to himself or others. This should not be based on assumptions or perceptions about a medical condition but should be based on current and relevant medical information.
An employer should provide a job description to the employee's physician so the physician understands the job duties associated with the job. The employer does not have the right to a complete medical history and only information related to the medical condition in question.
An employer is prohibited from sharing medical information with co-workers. Any medical information an employer receives should be kept confidential and in a separate file from the employee's regular work file.
For additional information please contact the DBTAC: Great Lakes ADA Center at (800) 949-4232 (V/TTY) or by completing the online Contact Us form