On May 9, 2016 the EEOC issued yet another “guide” – this time to outline its position on when and how leave must be granted for reasons related to an employee’s disability under the AmericansBeth-West-15_web
with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  The publication, entitled “Employer-Provided Leave and the Americans with Disabilities Act,” contains information on the

Joining similar holdings from several other circuits, the Ninth CircuitLucas Clary 02_web recently held in Mayo v. PCC Structurals, Inc. that a depressed employee who threatened to kill his co-workers and was thereafter fired was not a qualified individual under the ADA.  The court therefore affirmed the district court’s summary judgment on the employee’s disability discrimination claim.

Stress, Depression, and Bullying Lead Employee to Threaten Co-Workers’ Lives

The plaintiff, Timothy Mayo, welded aircraft parts for PCC Structurals.  In 1999, Mayo was diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD).  Despite the diagnosis, he continued working without incident for years.  In 2010, that changed.  Mayo and some other co-workers felt they were being bullied by their supervisor.  Following a co-worker’s complaint and a subsequent meeting to discuss the bullying, Mayo told three different co-workers that he wanted to kill the supervisor.  He told one co-worker that he felt like bringing a shotgun to work and “blowing off” the supervisor and others’ heads.  He told another co-worker that he wanted to “bring a gun down and start shooting people,” explaining that 1:30 p.m. was an optimal time because all of the supervisors would be present.  Pretty scary stuff.

Mayo’s co-workers reported the threats and HR reached out to him.  He told an HR representative that he “couldn’t guarantee” he wouldn’t carry out the threats.  PCC suspended him and called the police, who in turn took Mayo into custody for six days on the basis that he was a threat to himself and others.  After his release, Mayo spent two months on FMLA leave.  His doctor thereafter cleared him to return to work but suggested that he be assigned a different supervisor.  Instead, PCC fired him.


Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Says Employee Who Made Death Threats Against His Co-Workers Could Not Sue His Employer For Disability Discrimination

Employer-sponsored “wellness programs” have become very popular, and are touted for the potential benefits to employees and employers alike: reduced absenteeism, lowered health care costs, reduced injuries, improved morale and productivity.  But are these programs compliant with the ADA and other federal laws?

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has issued proposed regulations that are hoped to help employers make the most out of wellness programs while complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  The EEOC is also publishing a fact sheet for small businesses and a “Q&A” for the general public.Shauna Correia.standing

Key points from the guidelines:

Employers covered by the ADA (i.e. with 15 or more employees), who generally are restricted from collecting medical information from employees under the ADA, can do so as part of a wellness program.  The wellness program must be designed to promote health and prevent disease, and must have a “reasonable chance” of improving health or prevent disease. If it is, an employer may conduct voluntary medical examinations, including voluntary medical histories, as part of an employee health program available to employees, but still must comply with the ADA, including non-discrimination, reasonable accommodation, and confidentiality requirements.
Continue Reading EEOC Weighs in on Employer Wellness Programs

Recently, my Alma Mater, The University of Southern California, was sued by a former member of the Trojan football team.  Former cornerback Brian Baucham filed a lawsuit against USC and former coach Lane Kiffin, alleging he suffered permanent injuries after being forced to play in a game while he was ill.  Baucham’s lawsuit claimed that he was “forced by Coach Kiffin to play a home game even though Mr. Baucham was very ill and diagnosed by the USC Health Clinic with an influenza-like illness, viral pharyngitis and dehydration.”  After playing in a game against Berkeley, “Baucham suffered from cardiopulmonary damage, as well as brain injury with neurocognitive deficits,” according to the lawsuit.  Baucham alleges that USC and Kiffin violated both the NCAA and USC injury protocol programs when they forced him to play.

This got me to thinking: Now that the National Labor Relations Board has found that scholarship football players are employees under the NLRA, what if Mr. Baucham filed suit against USC as an employee?
Continue Reading Why Employers Should Think Twice Before Making Employees Play Hurt

Following the Yellow Brick Road of Employee Leave Rights and Accommodations.  SEAC invites you to spend the morning with attorneys and leave and accommodation experts Lizbeth (“Beth”) West and Charles (“Chuck”) Post from Weintraub Tobin as they discuss the ins and outs of this difficult area of employment law.

Date:         Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Time: