Category: Disability Discrimination

As States Reopen, Can Employees Refuse to Return to Work Based on Fear of Exposure to COVID-19?

As States Reopen, Can Employees Refuse to Return to Work Based on Fear of Exposure to COVID-19?

As many states progress through different phases of reopening, companies are preparing for their employees to return to work. Employers are also noting, however, that some states are seeing COVID-19 cases surge.  This has generated some concerns from employees who do not want to return to the work place. Can employers require employees to return to work if the employees...

Question #274: Opining on Obesity

Question: We have a large meat processing facility in Northern Minnesota. We were recently hiring for one of our positions in the plant requiring work with large mechanical equipment. Because we consider this position to be safety sensitive, we require candidates for this position to pass a medical examination prior to hire. One of the candidates for the open position...

Quirky Question #271: We’ve Got a Worried Waiter

Question: We recently interviewed a candidate for a server position at our restaurant. During the interview, he informed us that he has an anxiety disorder, which causes him to have panic attacks out of the blue. Do we have to hire him? What if he had a panic attack in the middle of serving a customer?

Quirky Question #270: A Win for Wellness Plans

Quirky Question #270: A Win for Wellness Plans

Question: Our company offers employees a self-funded and self-insured health plan. We’d now like to implement a wellness program.  Can we require employees to complete a health risk assessment which requests personal medical information before they are eligible to participate in the health plan?  I’ve heard that asking for employee medical information, even if it’s pursuant to a wellness program,...

Quirky Question #267: An Equine Accommodation?

Question: Our employee regularly uses a service dog in our office, which helps him with stability and maintaining balance around the office, which can be challenging for him due to several medical conditions he has. However, yesterday he came in and said he would like to use a miniature horse as a service animal instead of the dog, because it...

Quirky Question #263, My Supervisor is Stressing Me Out!

Question: We have an employee who claims she has a mental disability involving stress and anxiety caused by working with her supervisor, and she has asked for a different supervisor as an accommodation. This doesn’t seem to be a legitimate disability – are we missing something?

Quirky Question #261, When will our employee return?

Question: We’re a large company with offices in many locations, including in California, Minnesota, Washington and New York City.  We often have disabled employees provide doctors’ notes that say they are unable to work, but that do not provide an expected date the employee will be cleared medically to return.  When we ask these individuals for a return date, they...

Quirky Question #259, The FMLA and the ADA: Joined at the Hip

Question: I work in my company’s HR department and we just had an employee ask for additional time off, even though we’ve already given the employee a bunch of time off we are required to under the FMLA.  I wanted to say no but my co-worker here in HR says I have to grant the extra time off.  Who is right?

Quirky Question #244, An Update on Ebola

Quirky Question #244, An Update on Ebola

In Quirky Question #244, we discussed what employers should do to protect their employees and businesses in light of the potential Ebola threat.  Last week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered nearly 700 Minnesota National Guard members to deploy to Liberia this spring to help fight the Ebola epidemic. The citizen-soldiers are scheduled to start training in March with an estimated six-month...