ADA in the News October 3, 2018

EEOC Sues the Highlands of Memphis And Related Entities for Disability Discrimination

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, in April 2014, the nursing home's nighttime weekend nurse supervisor suffered a heart attack. While in the hospital, the nurse contacted the nursing home officials to report the heart attack and to advise that she would not be in to work on the weekend. After she was released from the hospital, she went to the nursing home to speak with management officials about her need for an additional week off from work to recover from the heart attack. Instead of considering her request for an accommodation, the company fired her, the EEOC said. 

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. FC Highlands, LLC, The Highlands of Memphis, LLC f/d/b/a Highlands of Memphis Health & Rehab, Aria Health Group, LLC, Skyline Management Group, LLC, and Skyline of Memphis Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, LLC, currently d/b/a The Highlands of Memphis and Norriswood Care and Rehab Center, LLC, Civil Action No. 2:18-cv-02675-JTF-tmp) in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Western Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency's Memphis District Office investigated the charge of discrimination.

Hawaii cable company's 'inflexible' leave policy violated ADA, EEOC says

HR Dive

Dive Brief:

  • Spectrum, one of Hawaii's cable providers, violated federal law when it denied leave as an accommodation to some of its customer service representatives at its Mililani, Hawaii, headquarters, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has alleged in a lawsuit (EEOC v. Oceanic Time Warner Cable dba Spectrum and Charter Comm. Inc., No. 1:18-cv-00357 (D. Haw., Sept. 19, 2018)).
  • When employees exhausted Family and Medical Leave Act leave, Spectrum failed to engage in the Americans with Disabilities Act's interactive process to determine if reasonable accommodations were needed, the suit says. It simply notified employees that if they could not return to full duty, they would be fired, according to the EEOC. Spectrum also denied reasonable accommodations to probationary employees because its policy only allowed for two unpaid absences during the six-month probationary period. For employees who exhausted their earned sick leave and two unpaid absences, the company did not engage in the interactive process to determine if reasonable accommodations could be provided and instead, fired them, EEOC said.
  • The commission has asked for back pay, compensatory and punitive damages for the class, as well as injunctive relief to prevent future discrimination.

Autonomous Vehicles: Disrupting Transportation Obstacles for Americans with Disabilities?


…..Automated vehicle and other emerging transportation technology is popping up with surprising speed and often without advance regulation. The goal for businesses that pioneer new advances in transportation is often to fill an undiscovered niche for financial gain, whereas others are striving to transform the entire transportation infrastructure………

With the advent of self-driving vehicles, the ability to drive may no longer be essential, thus requiring new workplace modifications by rewriting job descriptions. Further, it is anticipated future employers may be asked to allow the use of, or even provide self-driving vehicles as a form of workplace accommodation, limited by reasonableness and undue costs. Although this may be a future burden to employers and spawn litigation in the future, it may also assist employers who are currently struggling to fill entry- level positions by giving them access to an expanding workforce.

RTD: No, Pythons Are Not Service Animals


In mid-September, a man with a python slung around his neck walked onto a Regional Transportation District bus. "This is my comfort-service animal," he said, RTD officials report.

The albino python may have comforted the man, but it definitely discomforted other passengers...and it wasn't an actual service animal. According to RTD, similar incidents happen several times a month on its lines, which is why the agency has started a campaign to clarify what qualifies as a service animal.

"The public’s perception of what a service animal is and what a service animal is defined as under the Americans With Disabilities Act [ADA] are two different things.You can’t just bring on your pet because it makes you feel good. That’s not a service or task," explains Ed Neuberg, RTD's ADA manager.

A service animal, as defined by the ADA, is a dog "that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person's disability." Although not included in this definition, miniature horses are also considered legitimate service animals, though they're a rarer sight on RTD lines.

Disabled man hired by Verizon says company fired him years later – for having disability

After a 14-year career there, Verizon fired him because of his disability, McDonald said, and how he's suing the company in federal court.

"When they hired me, they were hiring a person with a disability," he said this week. "Through the years working with Verizon, I won many awards for my sales ability, my customer service ability and my attendance. I was good at what I did."

GST & Universal Design: Creating Access for the Visually Impaired

UD and GST both have the same goals: inclusiveness and awareness. Back in the old days, maps were often state secrets. In the last two decades, however, maps have become so ubiquitous that we take them for granted...but only if we’re able to use them effectively.

Stronger, Truer, Accessibility: Sewanee's need for an accessible campus

The Sewanee Purple

In recent years, Sewanee has been very intentional about re-examining itself from a variety of perspectives. Most visibly, the Project on Slavery, Race and Reconciliation began its work by digging deeper into Sewanee’s often mystified past and critiquing how we memorialize the University’s founding. We now have a full-time Title IX coordinator, Dr. Sylvia Gray, to give sexual misconduct on the Domain the attention it deserves. From an admissions perspective, efforts continue to bring more diversity to our student body, whether that’s in terms of race, socioeconomic status, or simply hometowns.

Yet, despite the conversations brewing about where and how we can grow as a University, a massive issue remains unrepresented: physical accessibility. Sure, we have Student Accessibility Services devoted to ensuring current students’ necessary accommodations are met, but physically, not a lot has changed.

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