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Employers May Be Liable For Violating ADA Based On Vague And Overbroad Medical Questionnaires

In Scott v. Napolitano, 2010 WL 1797032 (S.D. Cal. 2010), a California federal district court recently provided guidance on how employers may draft medical examination questionnaires that comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The plaintiff, a security officer, sued his employer for violation of the ADA, disability discrimination, and retaliation after he was suspended and then terminated for refusing to respond to the employer’s medical questionnaire. The…

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Police Department’s Sick Time Policy Violates ADA

The Massachusetts Division of Labor Relations has struck down the sick-time verification policy of the Dracut Police Department, finding that the policy violated several provisions of the applicable collective bargaining agreement. Similar to recent federal court decisions striking down overly intrusive sick-time verification policies, Dracut’s policy was also found to be in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). An arbitrator appointed by the State ordered the Town…

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GINA, New Discrimination Law, Became Effective In November 2009

By Christopher W. Olmsted The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) became effective on November 21, 2009. Generally, this federal law prohibits employers from acquiring or using genetic information about its employees, with certain exceptions. Who must comply with Title II of GINA? Title II is the section of GINA which regulates employers. It applies to private, state, and local government employers with 15 or more employees, employment agencies, labor…

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Columbus PD Sick Leave Verification Policy Called Into Question

Recent years have seen the sick leave verification programs of public safety employees increasingly under attack. Most usually, employees file lawsuits contending that an employer’s verification program violates their privacy rights under either the Americans With Disabilities Act or a general constitutional right to privacy. The sick leave verification policy for the Columbus, Ohio Police Department ran into tough sledding in federal court this summer. Under the policy, an…

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EEOC Issues Long-Awaited ADA Guidelines

Approximately one year after former President Bush signed the Americans With Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA), the EEOC has finally issued proposed regulations and an Interpretive Guidance for public comment. As expected, the new regulations make significant changes in how certain terms under the ADA are defined, which certainly will give rise to more disability claims. Here is a summary of the most significant changes and guidance to the…

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‘Aren’t You Being Discriminatory’ Is Protected Activity Under ADA

Mary Casna was a police clerk for the City of Loves Park, Illinois. Casna suffers a hearing impairment resulting from chemotherapy and wears aids in both ears. Casna reported to Kay Eliot, the Chief’s secretary. Eliot kept a log in which she recorded Casna’s performance, and her comments were rarely favorable. Eliot noted that Casna took a long time to complete routine tasks and gossiped about coworkers. The tension…

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Police Employee Terminated For Misconduct, Not For Alcoholism

Kathleen Nanos was an Office Support Specialist in the Stamford, Connecticut Police Department. Her general job duties included answering phones and serving members of the public who came to the records department. Nanos is an alcoholic. On three occasions in 2004, Nanos’ supervisors communicated with her regarding her use of sick and vacation time. The supervisors expressed concern that Nanos had used all of the time she had accrued…

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Firing Alcoholic Police Chief Does Not Violate ADA

Charles Budde was the Police Chief for the Kane County Forest Preserve in Illinois. On the evening of March 11, 2005, while off duty, Budde rear-ended another car, damaging his own vehicle and sending the passengers of the other car to the hospital. An investigation ensued. Budde admitted that he was an alcoholic who would drink virtually every evening when he returned home from work until he passed out…

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Flurry Of New Laws/Regulations Has Employers Scurrying To Come Into Compliance

The last 12 months have seen what is certainly the most active period of federal employment legislation and regulation changes in the last 25 years. A spate of new laws – with more likely to arrive in upcoming months – has left employers scrambling to comply. The deluge started on May 21, 2008, when President Bush signed into law the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). GINA prohibits employers from…

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Officer Terminated For Misconduct, Not Drug Addiction

Bryan Witt was a police officer with the City of Lake Oswego, Oregon. In 2002, a departmental investigation found that Witt was present at a party where others were allegedly using illegal substances. A captain counseled Witt that he should be “wary of his associations since it could impact his career.” In 2005, the Department received information that Witt had attempted to purchase cocaine after a late night visit…

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