DHHS and DOJ Issue Guidance on “Long COVID” As a Disability

Tasha PattersonLegislative Updates

On July 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued guidance explaining that “long COVID” can be a disability under Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which apply to state/local government and public accommodations respectively.

For Once, Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Tasha PattersonLegislative Updates

Allowing an employee to self-limit duties and not perform an essential function of a position for an extended period of time may give the employee the expectation that they are performing the essential functions of the position. Setting employee expectations is often key to avoiding litigation.

Fifth Circuit Holds Regular Attendance Is Essential

Tasha PattersonLegislative Updates

An employer’s past leniency in applying and enforcing its attendance policy did not contradict the employer’s later position that regular worksite attendance was required for employment, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has held.

Seventh Circuit Continues To Find That Lengthy Leaves of Absence May Not Be Reasonable Accommodations

Tasha PattersonLegislative Updates

On Dec. 30, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued its opinion in McAllister v. Innovation Ventures, LLC, No. 20-1779 (7th Cir., Dec. 30 2020), and held that an employer did not violate the ADA where it terminated its employee after it became clear that she would require several additional months of leave after she had already been granted a two-and-a-half-month leave of absence due to her disability.

Wellness Programs and Water Bottles – EEOC Proposes New Rules under the ADA and GINA

Tasha PattersonLegislative Updates

Since 1996, when Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), employers have been struggling with whether and to what extent they could offer incentives to employees to participate in certain “wellness programs.” On Jan. 7, the EEOC proposed a new approach that may provide employers some certainty, particularly as many employers are wondering about incentives to encourage employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

To Vaccinate Or Not To Vaccinate…That Is The Question

Tasha PattersonLegislative Updates

As we enter flu season (in the midst of a national spike in COVID-19 cases), and it now appears that a COVID-19 vaccine is on the horizon, employers are struggling with whether they should require employees to be vaccinated for seasonal influenza and/or COVID-19 infection.

EEOC Issues Guidance on Opioid Addiction in Employment

Tasha PattersonLegislative Updates

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued two technical assistance documents on Aug. 5, 2020, addressing accommodation issues under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for employees who use opioid medications or may be addicted to opioids.

Class Action Suit Claims ADA Requires Public Accommodation to Prevent Spread of COVID-19 at Facility

Tasha PattersonLegislative Updates

Despite significant legal obstacles, on May 4, 2020, a group of plaintiffs filed a class action complaint alleging the Queens Adult Care Center (QACC) violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (Title III) and its precursor, Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act (Section 504), by failing to provide a level of care to safeguard their health and safety at its assisted living facility during the COVID-19 pandemic.

EEOC Opines on COVID-19 Testing by Employers

Tasha PattersonLegislative Updates

The EEOC’s most recent update provides an answer to the following question: “May an employer administer a COVID-19 test (a test to detect the presence of the COVID-19 virus) before permitting employees to enter the workplace?”

EEOC Releases Recorded Webinar Addressing Important Questions

Tasha PattersonLegislative Updates

The EEOC published a webinar to address common employer questions regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, including: taking employees temperatures, appropriate and inappropriate disclosure of information related to an employee’s COVID-19 diagnosis, and managing employee accommodation requests including requests from employees in the high risk categories identified by the CDC.