The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted in 1990 to prevent employment discrimination on the basis of an employee’s disability. While the definition of disability has not changed with 
Continue Reading GT Alert — Disabilities in the Workplace – Regulations to Implement the Equal Employment Provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act Amendments Act




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From Marc B. Koenigsberg of GT Sacramento. Thanks and welcome to Marc! 

Last month, the California Court of Appeal ventured into the uncharted area of state law regarding how an employer may address disability-caused misconduct involving threats or violence against coworkers. In Wills v. Superior Court of Orange County (G043054), the Court of Appeal held plaintiff Linda Wills’ Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) claim failed because her misconduct provided a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for her termination. 

Wills was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1997. She later began working for the Orange County Superior Court in 1999. While carrying out her assignments at the Anaheim Police Department’s lockup facility, Wills angrily swore and yelled at police department employees, told them she had added them to her "Kill Bill" list of people to harm, forwarded a cell phone ringtone to several people which contained a video with threatening messages, and sent numerous rambling emails describing harm to the employees. 

After completing an internal investigation, her employer terminated Wills’ employment, citing her threatening conduct which violated its employee handbook provisions prohibiting verbal threats, threatening behavior and violence. Wills sued under FEHA, and the Orange County Superior Court moved for summary judgment. The trial court granted summary judgment, and the Court of Appeal affirmed.

Continue Reading Workplace Safety Trumps Threats by Disabled Employee

The ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) became law on January 1, 2009, but in reviewing some recently reported decisions, you would not know it. That is because almost all courts have held that the ADAAA does not apply retroactively. Thus, many recent court decisions have been decided under the ADA as it was constituted prior to the amendments.

For instance, in Williams v. Brunswick County Board of Education, No. 08 CV 140-D, (E.D.N.C. July 2, 2010), the court held that an employee with diabetes did not have a covered disability. However, the court clearly noted that it was deciding the case on the ADA prior to the amendments. Similarly, in Boitnott v. Corning, Inc., No. 06 CV 0330 (W.D.Va. June 15, 2010), the court ruled that a plant worker with leukemia was not entitled to a reasonable accommodation because the employee was not disabled within the meaning of the ADA. Again, the court noted that it was deciding the case under the ADA before the amendments were enacted. Thus, until newer cases make their way through the court process, courts will continue to decide disability cases under the old ADA definitions. 

Continue Reading The ADA Amendments Act: Slowly Making Its Way Into Court Decisions

One of the most vexing areas in employment is the interaction of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act for individuals on a leave of absence because of a disability. If an employee has a disability and needs to take a leave of absence, the employer may provide qualified employees with twelve weeks of leave under the FMLA. But what happens when the FMLA period expires and the employee requests additional leave? 

Continue Reading Leaves of Absence and the ADA