Tag: employment termination

$110K Penalty Shows: Alcoholism is an ADA-protected Condition

Employers, pay heed. A recent court outcome — and hefty monetary award for the employee — reiterate the fact that alcoholism is a disability protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Following a five-day trial a federal jury in Pennsylvania awarded more than $109,000 to a cook whose rights, it found, had been violated when […]

FMLA Leave Not a Reason for Discipline or Dismissal, Court Says

Employers must not impose probation on employees for excessive absences that include leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. To do so is akin to using a disciplinary measure to penalize employees for taking qualified FMLA leave. So ruled the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey as it permitted the FMLA […]

Employer Says Gross Misconduct Means No COBRA Coverage for Ex-employee

An employer provided enough evidence raising questions of a former employee’s possible gross misconduct to ward off her summary judgment motion regarding a COBRA notice claim. The employer noted the individual had committed gross misconduct by quitting the job without notice, refusing to follow supervisor instructions and initially lying about why she left work early […]

In Rare Post-amendments Ruling, Court Finds Impairment Not a Disability

Being deaf in one ear is not a disability, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania ruled in Mengel v. Reading Eagle Co. (No. 11–6151, 2013 WL 1285477 (E.D. Pa. March 29, 2014)). While findings of “no disability” were common before the Americans with Disabilities Act was amended, they have been […]

3rd Circuit Rejects Call to Change $3K COBRA Notice Penalty

In rejecting a qualified beneficiary’s attempt to increase a nearly $3,000 COBRA notice penalty, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals noted that the employer/plan administrator’s efforts to remedy the violation did not warrant any higher award. The court also rejected the individual’s request for the reimbursement of medical expenses and attorney’s fees. But in […]

Employers Wise to Limit Job-related Calls to Employees on FMLA Leave

Employers need to know what distinguishes a professional courtesy — let’s say having an occasional job-related phone discussion with an employee on leave — from crossing the line and interfering with an employee’s rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act. In other words, you as employer need to inform your employees about the parameters […]

Outback Steakhouse to Pay $65K for Firing Disabled Server

Outback Steakhouse will pay $65,000 to a server it fired because of his traumatic brain injury, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The payment will settle a lawsuit EEOC filed on the server’s behalf. The commission alleged that John Woods was fired after a new manager took over an Outback restaurant in Phoenix. Woods worked […]

Old ‘Disability’ Definition Applies to Employee’s Injury, Says 10th Circuit

There is a growing legal precedent regarding when courts can evaluate an Americans with Disabilities Act claim under a new, broader disability definition: the adverse employment actions at issue must have occurred after the Jan. 1, 2009, effective date of the ADA Amendments Act. For an employee who allegedly was discriminated against in 2008, this […]

Key Wage-and-hour Language to Have in Your Employee Handbook

To prevent the consequences from imprecise employee handbook language,  employers should regularly review their handbooks and written policies. Since wage and hour lawsuits make up a significant part of  litigation, W&H provisions can make a difference as you draft or review your employee handbook. Wage-and-hour related provisions should include pay details, safe harbor and state […]

Inpatient Treatment for Alcoholism Protected Under ADA, FMLA

 Courts generally agree that an employee suffering from alcoholism has “a physical or mental impairment” — and, hence, a disability protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. While an employer can deny employment to, discipline or discharge an alcoholic whose use of alcohol adversely affects job performance or conduct, ADA provides that an employee whose poor […]