A bill aimed at strengthening the Americans with Disabilities Act may not be what it seems. The U-S House could vote this week on The A-D-A Education and Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 620), which would give businesses accused of not complying with the law a grace period to fix alleged infractions on their properties before they are subject to litigation. Proponents claim it will curb frivolous lawsuits. But Marilyn Golden with the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund argues most lawsuits filed under the A-D-A are not about money but instead, well-intentioned efforts to make buildings more accessible.
These are the words of a hearing-impaired lawyer. So — is hearing-impairment a disability?
Deafness, or hearing impairment, as a disability, and the requirement of “reasonable accommodations,” is in the news because of a newly announced settlement of an Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) lawsuit brought by the EEOC against the Cheesecake Factory in Seattle.
It was alleged that a dishwasher who is deaf was newly-hired then subsequently fired when the company denied his requests “for orientation training with either closed captioned video or an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter.” The case was settled for $15,000.
Reacting to the settlement, an EEOC attorney stated: “All [plaintiff] wanted was the opportunity to work at The Cheesecake Factory on a level playing field with hearing employees, with accessible training on how to clock in for his shifts and how to use the online scheduling system. These changes should help alleviate the isolation that a deaf employee can experience in the workplace, and equip the employee with the basic tools to succeed.”
Why it matters
Where an employee was unable to perform the essential tasks of his new position—and had been accommodated in his old role for 15 months—his termination did not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a federal court judge in North Carolina has ruled. Bobby Moore suffered a stroke in 2014 and returned to his job after medical leave and extensive rehabilitation. He was unable to perform all his duties but was not reprimanded, as the employer believed his condition would continue to improve. But after he fell, Moore filed paperwork seeking an accommodation. Finding that Moore was unable to perform the essential tasks of his position, the employer denied the request and transferred him to a new position. When he caused too many errors in his new role, Moore was fired. He sued under the ADA, alleging he was discriminated against and denied a reasonable accommodation. But the court disagreed, granting the employer’s motion for summary judgment. Just because the employer had accommodated Moore in his original position for 15 months didn’t mean it had to continue to do so, the court said, particularly where Moore failed to establish he could perform the functions of the job with or without an accommodation.
Adding a division for disabled runners "undermines the competitiveness" of high school track meets, a federal appeals court found.
Makers of the new Peter Rabbit film apologized for including a scene making light of allergies.
After his fourth driving-while-intoxicated conviction in 2016, a San Antonio man tried to overturn his four-year prison sentence by arguing that Texas’ legal limit on intoxicated driving discriminates against alcoholics.