ADA in the News May 31, 2019

Aspiring Minds Announces Advanced Accessibility Features To Ensure Equal Opportunities for the Disabled

EIN News

Aspiring Minds, a global leader in AI powered talent assessments and interviewing technology announced today a suite of advanced accessibility features enabling its talent assessments and interviewing tools to be more accessible for people with disabilities including hearing and visual impairments.

Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications to Pay $99,500 to Settle EEOC Disability Lawsuit

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, an employee requiring a leave of absence for surgery to remove a cancerous nodule from her thyroid was fired while she was recovering from surgery, 10 days after the surgery and three weeks before she was set to return to work. The EEOC charged that Time Warner failed to provide the employee a reasonable accommodation of leave for her disability and instead unlawfully terminated her despite knowing she had undergone potentially life-saving surgery to remove the cancerous nodule and was recovering.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), as amended, which makes it unlawful for an employer to fire or otherwise discriminate against an employee due to a disability. 

The EEOC filed suit at the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (EEOC v. Time Warner Cable, Inc., et al., Case No.: 5:17-cv-01355-JGB-KK), after first attempting to reach a voluntary, pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to monetary relief, the three-year consent decree, which remains under the court's jurisdiction during the term of the decree, includes injunctive relief intended to prevent further workplace discrimination. Charter Communications will review and revise its written policies to achieve compliance with the ADA, provide regular training to all employees regarding the ADA, maintain a log detailing accommodation requests and complaints and conduct regular audits, and oversee recordkeeping and reporting requirements through a designated equal employment opportunity monitor. The EEOC will monitor compliance with the terms of this agreement.

Hyatt to Provide $100,000 in Pay and Benefits to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Hyatt violated federal civil rights law by refusing to accommodate an employee with a back impairment. Prolonged standing as a front desk agent aggravated the employee's impairment and caused him severe pain. The employee requested a reasonable accommodation, namely that the hotel permit him to sit on a chair while working at the front desk. The hotel initially granted that request, then after two weeks the hotel reversed course, refusing to let the employee use the chair and otherwise failing to accommodate his disability.  According to the EEOC's suit, being seated did not interfere with the employee's performance of his job duties of registering guests, processing payments, and responding to guest inquiries. 

This denial of accommodations violated the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), the EEOC charged. Absent an undue burden to the company, the ADA requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations to a qualified individual with a disability to enable him to perform the essential functions of his job.  This includes accommodations needed to allow an employee to work without severe pain.  The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Grand Hyatt New York, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:18-CV-07374) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York after first attempting a pre-litigation settlement through the EEOC's conciliation process.

"Federal law on disability accommodations is very clear - employers must provide a reasonable accommodation so long as it does not cause an undue burden," said Kevin Berry, the EEOC's New York District director. "Something as simple as providing a chair for an employee working at a desk is rarely burdensome."

Under the consent decree resolving the lawsuit, Grand Hyatt will pay $85,000 and provide six weeks of paid leave to the aggrieved employee, and also will provide him a chair so he can perform his duties seated. The consent decree further requires Grand Hyatt to provide training to its employees about their rights and responsibilities under the ADA. Additionally, the company will report the outcome of future requests for accommodations and complaints of disability discrimination to the EEOC.

Universal Design Increases In Style, Availability and Luxury


Universal design. Accessible design. ADA design. These terms all convey images of unattractive, institutional spaces required by law and disability. As more Americans move into their senior years, more face challenges to their ability to live independently, which the vast majority prefer. AARP put it this way: “87 percent of adults age 65-plus want to stay in their current home and community as they age.”

Woman alleges Monarch School fired her over disability

Foster's Daily Democrat

Gail Hannigan of York, Maine, is suing the Monarch School of New England for discrimination and wrongful termination. Hannigan served as the Rochester-based school’s finance director for 14 years until she was terminated in June 2018 after she took nine work days off in April due to her anxiety and depression, according to the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Concord.

Hannigan’s nine-count suit alleges MSNE violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and ADA Amendments Act when it terminated her. It also alleges MSNE “acted with malice and/or reckless indifference to Ms. Hannigan’s federally-protected rights,” caused her serious mental and emotional harm, and fired her out of retaliation for taking a leave protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act.

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