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California Employment Law Commentary on Issues Facing California Employers

Tag Archives: reasonable accommodation

Recent Case Shows Lengths CA Employers Must Go to Accommodate Disabled Employees

Posted in Disability Discrimination, Discrimination

One of our ongoing themes has been the extent of an employer’s obligation to accommodate disabled employees. A recent unpublished court of appeal decision – Swanson v Morongo Unified – illustrates this point. Swanson, an elementary school teacher, had recently been treated for breast cancer. She asked to be assigned to teach 2nd grade, as she had recently done, instead… Continue Reading

LSAT and DFEH Settle Reasonable Accommodation Dispute

Posted in Disability Discrimination, Discrimination

The Law School Admission Council – a nonprofit that administers the Law School Aptitude Test or LSAT – has settled a dispute with the Department of Justice and California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing over accommodations for disabled test-takers. As we discussed here, California enacted Education Code section 99161.5 in 2013 to: (1)  require that… Continue Reading

I Didn’t Steal the Potato Chips, My Disability Did

Posted in Disability Discrimination, Discrimination, Employment Litigation

With increasing frequency, employees are relying on disabilities to excuse work-related misconduct. While we’ve been writing about this for years (some suggested that my 2011 post “To What Extent Are California Employers Required To Accommodate Violent Nutjobs” was insensitively titled), a recent decision out of California takes the cake, or in this case, the bag… Continue Reading

DFEH Director Says Fake Service Animals Are a Real Problem

Posted in Disability Discrimination, Discrimination

Businesses have been dealing for years with the hassles of accommodating customers and employees with service animals. The problem isn’t people who legitimately need the assistance. No one begrudges a blind person the right to a guide dog. But service animals can be used for a wide variety of issues, ranging from a miniature horse pulling… Continue Reading

This Employer Has a Right to Feel Picked On (Part 2)

Posted in Disability Discrimination, Discrimination

I wrote a year ago about a new statute in California that told Law School Admission Council, Inc. — the nonprofit that administers the Law School Aptitude Test — that it has to: Provide accommodations for disabled test-takers (which it was already doing); Make public the process for determining whether an accommodation is warranted; and Stop notifying… Continue Reading

What Every Employee Who Receives Employment Inquiries Needs to Know About the Americans With Disabilities Act

Posted in Discrimination

I’ve written plenty about the complexities of the interactive process and accommodating disabled workers (such as here and here and here and here). Not all your employees need to understand those complexities. But everyone in an organization who receives employment applications or inquiries needs to understand that the obligation to accommodate extends to applicants for… Continue Reading

The Interactive Process and Reasonable Accommodation of Disabled Workers

Posted in Discrimination

I’ve said before that one of the most daunting challenges facing employers today is understanding the extent of their obligation to accommodate disabled workers. The difficulty stems from the breadth of impairments that qualify as disabilities and how far the the law expects employers to go (in terms of expense, inefficiencies, and disruptions) to enable disabled individuals to participate… Continue Reading

Indefinite Leave Me Alone (Part 2)

Posted in Discrimination

Our colleague Richard Cohen at the Employment Discrimination Report posted this item about indefinite leave being a reasonable accommodation under the NYC Human Rights Law. It’s not under California or Federal law and it would be a nightmare for employers if that changed. Under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act, employers have… Continue Reading

Is Being Dead a Disability?

Posted in Discrimination

I read two items about dead people today. First, I read this post by Marjorie Johnson about a woman in Alabama who died after the EEOC issued her a right-to-sue letter. She died before a complaint was filed in her name, but the complaint was allowed to proceed (I assume with her estate substituted in as the… Continue Reading

What Does It Mean that Disabled Employees Get “Preferential Consideration” for Open Positions?

Posted in Discrimination

Imagine this situation: You’re in charge of HR for your company. Employee #1 is returning from a disability-related leave of absence, but her position is no longer available (assume that this wasn’t FMLA/CFRA or pregancy leave which usually require you to put the employee back in her old job). There is, however, an open position that… Continue Reading

A Checklist of Possible Disability Accommodations

Posted in Discrimination

Complying with the laws regarding disability discrimination remains one of the greatest challenges employers face. Lately, I’ve been discussing new California regulations on this topic (found in Title 2, Division 4, Chapter 2, Subchapter 9 of the California Code of Regulations). I’ve written about what gives rise to the obligation to engage in the interactive… Continue Reading

What Employers Need to Know About California’s New Disability Regulations

Posted in Discrimination

New disability regulations (pdf) took effect this year for California employers with five or more employees. They include the following:   Examples, examples, and more examples. These examples are illustrative – not exclusive. o   Examples of physical disabilities, namely “deafness, blindness, partially or completely missing limbs, mobility impairments requiring the use of a wheelchair, cerebral… Continue Reading

Flexibility the Key in Exploring Reasonable Accommodations

Posted in Discrimination

Many employers in California get into trouble for not understanding the extent of their obligations to accommodate disabled employees.  This can happen for several reasons.  First, they may not understand how broadly California law defines disabilities.  Second, they may not appreciate the extent to which California law requires employers to assume costs, inconvenience, and disruption… Continue Reading

Must Employers Who Receive Federal Funds Accommodate Disabled Independent Contractors?

Posted in Discrimination

Last week, the Supreme Court turned down the opportunity to review the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Yuma Anesthesia Med. Servs. LLC v. Fleming.  In that case, a physician working at a hospital alleged that he was discriminated against because he had sickle-cell anemia.  There was no dispute that the physician was an… Continue Reading

Indefinite Leave Me Alone

Posted in Discrimination

Like many management-side employment lawyers, I field a lot of questions from clients wondering what to do with employees on leaves of absence.  Questions like: The Family Medical Leave Act and California Family Rights Act both require employers to grant employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave.  So if the employee can’t come back after 12 weeks,… Continue Reading