By Pamela Quigley Devata, Paul Kehoe, and Craig B. Simonsen

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have just announced two short guides on employment background checks: Background Checks: What Employers Need to Know and Background Checks: What Job Applicants and Employees Should Know.  The documents were

By Lawrence P. Postol

Before Congress passed the 2008 Amendments to the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”), courts generally held temporary disabilities were not covered by the ADA.  Thus, if an employee had a temporary condition such as a broken leg or acute bronchitis, employers after the 12 weeks of  Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”)

By Natascha B. Riesco

It may soon be easier for obese plaintiffs to claim disability discrimination.  The American Medical Association (AMA) recently declared obesity as a “disease,” which may have supersized implications for employers as they deal with reasonable accommodation requests and disability discrimination claims from overweight employees.  So is obesity a disability?  Can employers

By Johanna T. Wise and Kevin A. Fritz

Since its historic passage in 1990, the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) has taken a wild drive down the Interpretation Highway. As our travels have shown, when employees claim discrimination under the ADA, they must prove (among other things) that the employer failed to make a reasonable accommodation based on the employees’ known limitations. In a recent Fifth Circuit decision, however, the court took an unexpected detour and (potentially) paved a new road in the accommodation process. 

In Feist v. Louisiana, the plaintiff claimed she was discriminated against when her employer failed to grant her request for a free, reserved, on-site parking space to accommodate her disability: osteoarthritis of the knee. The plaintiff claimed her request was a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. The employer said it was not, and the lower court agreed. It held that the plaintiff would only be eligible for such a spot if she could show the reserved space was an essential function of the position. 

Now, we’ve been down this road many times and we’ve never seen “parking spot” in the “essential function” portion of a job description. And based on the lower court’s reasoning, an accommodation outside of the essential functions of a position would never be required by an employer. But the Fifth Circuit disagreed and reversed that decision. It held that the ADA does not require a link between a requested accommodation and an essential job function.
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By: Beth Gobeille Foley

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court altered the state’s disability law landscape today with a narrowly tailored decision allowing some — but not all — claims of associational disability discrimination to proceed under the state’s anti-discrimination law, M.G.L. ch. 151B, § 4(16) (“Chapter 151B”).

In Flagg v. AliMed, a plaintiff brought