ADA in the News August 7, 2019

Employer doesn't forfeit right to fire employee for performance issues by previously letting them slide

Though an ice rink's maintenance employee was not previously disciplined for the behavioral issues—insubordination and a "bad attitude," among other traits—that ultimately resulted in his discharge, there was no evidence to suggest that these problems, as set forth in his termination letter, were not the true reason for his discharge. Noting that an employer doesn't forfeit the right to hold an employee accountable for poor performance merely because it had chosen to overlook it in the past, the Seventh Circuit declined to resurrect the employee's ADA discrimination suit alleging that he was actually fired on account of his workplace injury. Nor would the appeals court reinstate his failure-to-accommodate claim, as he never informed his employer that the sedentary job it gave him as he recovered from his injury didn't satisfy his work restrictions. (Graham v Arctic Zone Iceplex, LLC, 7thCir, July 23, 2019, Barrett, A.)


Vallen Distribution to Pay $75,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

ATLANTA - Vallen Distribution, Inc. (formerly Hagemeyer North America, Inc.), a national leading provider of indirect industrial supplies, will pay $75,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Oppor­tunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.

According to the EEOC's suit, in August 2015, Vallen fired Wesley Smith, a delivery driver in Vallen's Augusta, Ga., warehouse, instead of granting his request for unpaid leave for a defined period of time to treat and recover from prostate cancer. Vallen fired Smith the day before his scheduled surgery, the EEOC said.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which prohibits discrimination based on a disability.


Disabled Braintree residents say inaccessibility plagues the town

Disabled Braintree residents say the town has been slow to correct myriad accessibility issues that make it difficult for them to navigate life in Braintree on a daily basis.

“The barriers we actually encounter are society’s barriers, not our own physical barriers,” Crystal Evans said.

Evans, a Braintree resident who uses an electric wheelchair and a ventilator, is an outspoken activist around disabilities and accessibility issues. Last year, she founded Advancing Community inClusion & Equality on the South Shore, or ACCESS, a group of around 200 members that fights for accessibility and equality for disabled people on the South Shore and the wider area.

Evans is one of three residents suing the town for failing to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination based on disability and stipulates, among other things, that places open to the public be accessible for all. The suit was filed in the fall of last year in federal district court.


WCAG Compliance: What To Know, And How To Get Started On Making Your Website Accessible To All

Does your company’s website comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)? If your answer is no, or you have no idea, you might be in danger of lawsuits that can cost you time, money and your reputation. More importantly, you might be unwittingly preventing people with disabilities from accessing your website.

We've designed and developed countless websites for a plethora of businesses across the globe, and I’ve never met a business owner yet who's okay with bogging down potential customers with unnecessary barriers. Yet companies that neglect to ensure that their websites adhere to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), by following the WCAG, are in effect placing roadblocks in front of a large swath of the population. This article is intended to help you understand the WCAG, why they matter and how to comply in a way that not only can protect your business but also make the world a better place for people with disabilities.

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