In a recent case (Hostettler v. College of Wooster), the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a requirement that an employee work full time, without a duties-based reason for the requirement.
In this case, the plaintiff was an HR Generalist at College of Wooster. The plaintiff had recently had a baby and, when she was released to return to work, her doctor provided a restriction that the plaintiff could only work part-time because the plaintiff was suffering from postpartum depression and separation anxiety.
Initially, the employer granted the requested accommodation – allowing the employee to work 5 half days per week. The plaintiff worked that modified schedule for one month and then turned in a note from her doctor stating that she would need to continue working the modified schedule for an additional two months. The next day, the employee was terminated. The reason given – the department could not function properly because the plaintiff was not working full-time and working a full-time schedule was an essential function of the HR Generalist position. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit claiming that her termination was discriminatory. Continue reading NEW CASE: Without More, Full-Time Attendance Is Not An Essential Job Function
The EEOC recently released new guidance materials relating to mental health conditions. In its news release regarding these new materials, the EEOC indicated that the new materials were necessary because charges of discrimination based on mental health conditions are on the rise (nearly 5,000 charges of discrimination based on mental health conditions were resolved in 2016), which indicates that employers are not aware of the protections the ADA affords employees with mental health conditions.
The first document, entitled “Depression, PTSD, & Other Mental Health Conditions in the Workplace: Your Legal Rights” summarizes the rights of individuals with mental health conditions under the ADA. This documents addresses and provides guidance regarding the following topics:
- An employee’s right to protection against discrimination and harassment because of a mental health condition,
- An employee’s right to privacy regarding his/her mental health information, and
- An employer’s obligation to provide reasonable accommodation in the performance of job functions to an employee whose ability to perform his/her job is effected because of a mental health condition.
The second document, entitled “The Mental Health Provider’s Role in a Client’s Request for a Reasonable Accommodation at Work,” provides information intended to help mental health providers understand the documentation necessary for submitting reasonable accommodation requests to an employer.
It is recommended that all employers review these new materials.