Distributor, Hair Salon Sued by EEOC Under ADA

Two employers may be about to learn the hard way that simple adherence to the Americans With Disabilities Act can keep them out of court.

The EEOC this week filed an ADA lawsuit against a Minneapolis-based distribution company, alleging that it unlawfully would not allow an employee who had suffered a heart attack to return to work, even though the employee had presented a note from his doctor okaying his return. The EEOC says this is an ADA violation because in effect the company regarded the employee as disabled.

In the second case, the EEOC is suing an Atlanta-based hair salon that allegedly did not reply to a hair stylist’s request for a reasonable accommodation to allow her to stand for extending periods without experiencing back pain. The employee has scoliosis and a herniated disk.

You can read about the first case here and the second case here.

But more importantly, don’t fall into the same trap as these employers apparently did. Follow the ADA’s simple requirements to treat all employees as capable of working unless proven otherwise. Don’t substitute your opinion for a doctor’s as to whether an employee is fit to return to work, and don’t ignore the law’s reasonable accommodation mandate.

BONUS COVERAGE– on a completely separate topic, I’ve just learned that two more bans on same-sex marriage have been struck down, Utah’s and Indiana’s. I haven’t covered this issue much lately, what with the U.S. Supreme Court having settled the question about whether same-sex marriages must be recognized under federal law.  But state same-sex marriage bans continue to drop like duck pins. There isn’t a single remaining law that isn’t subject to court challenge. Utah’s attorney general has promised to appeal the Tenth Circuit’s ruling against his state, so it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s the case that eventually makes it to the U.S. Supreme Court where the question of a constitutional right to same-sex marriage will be squarely put before the justices.

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