Philadelphia Employment Law News

Disability in Philadelphia

People with disabilities have the same right to work as anyone else, and employers cannot discriminate against them for it. Congress codified the protection of employees with disabilities with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. Under the Act, reasonable accommodations must be made for workers with many types of disabilities in the workforce, as well as in most places open to the public.

Despite these protections, the extent of disabled employees’ rights is oftentimes complicated. If you believe you have been the subject of disability discrimination or if you are unsure your actions constitute disability discrimination, an experienced Philadelphia Employment attorney can assess your situation.

Recently in Disability Category

Disability Discrimination and Accomodation: 3 Common Cases

Anti-discrimination laws exist in every state to prevent discrimination against employees based on disability and other protected categories. Both Pennsylvania law and federal law require Philadelphia businesses to afford those employees some reasonable accommodations.

Here are three common situations in which a business is legally required to accommodate an employee and prohibited from discrimination:

McCormick & Schmick's Settles Disability Lawsuit

It's illegal for businesses to discriminate against someone who is disabled. Sometimes, disabilities are less obvious, such as mental disabilities. In other cases, the disabilities are obvious.

So why would an employer or a manager blatantly discriminate against a deaf person?

That's a question that the management at McCormick & Schmick's, owned by Landry's Inc., will certainly be asking, following a finding of discrimination by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

A manager at a Maryland branch of the McCormick & Schmick's chain allegedly discriminated against a deaf chef, the EEOC said in a press release.

Top 10 Most and Least Stressful Jobs of 2013

The 2013 list is in for the least stressful jobs, and for the most stressful jobs as well. But don't stress over it, we're here to break it down for you.

University professor ranks No. 1 for the least stressful job, according to ABC News.

The list doesn't really take into account whether this refers to tenured professors or all professors. As many in academia know, the tenure track does take a toll on professors.

Employment Issues and the 2012 Election

With Election Day fast approaching, let's address a few last-minute employment issues leading up to the election.

The final jobs report before Election Day is in, and it's showing that the unemployment rate is at 7.9 percent.

GOP challenger Mitt Romney pounced on that figure, stating that it was lower than what then-candidate Barack Obama promised when he ran for election back in 2008.

But as President Obama's team points out, he took office in one of the worst periods of unemployment and since then, the nation has seen 25 consecutive months of job growth.

ADA Helps Blind Philadelphia Teacher See What's Best for Kids

Harriet Go is a blind Philadelphia teacher that has just been awarded a scholarship by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) to help her complete a master's degree in reading and literacy, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Go has been awarded the scholarship once before while attending Temple, where she graduated summa cum laude.

Jim Antonacci, president of the NFB, stated that it is incredibly rare for a person to win the scholarship twice and that it is a large honor to receive, writes the Inquirer. Go uses her great talents to teach learning disabled children to read, spending her summers leading a summer camp for the blind and demonstrating braille to Boy Scouts.

U.S. District Court: Severe Obesity is an ADA Disability

Much like my waistline, the field of disabled Americans protected by the ADA may have just expanded to the severely obese, thanks to recent opinions by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, reports

Lisa Harrison worked as a prevention and intervention specialist at a facility that fought chemical dependencies, Family House in Louisiana, which is owned by Resources for Human Development. She was hired in 1999 and fired in late 2007, reportedly for being severely obese.

Harrison’s weight problem existed at the time she was hired and continued throughout her employment, though she was still able to carry out the essential tasks of her job. She passed away in 2009, yet the suit lives on thanks to the EEOC pressing forward on behalf of her estate.

Paralegal Sues Fragomen LLP Over FMLA, ADA and Extended Leave

Jacqueline Heenan worked for Philadelphia-based law firm Fragomen, Del Ray, Bernsen & Lowey LLP for less than a year before she got a troubling medical diagnosis. She needed leave from her employer due to open heart surgery, reports the Pennsylvania Record.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Family Medical Leave Act, temporary disabilities such as Heenan's surgery require the employer to make reasonable accomodations, like an extended leave of absence. If the employee has paid leave, they should be allowed to use that first, followed by as much unpaid leave as is necessary.

Capital Healthcare Solutions Accused of HIV Discrimination

Capital Healthcare Solutions, a Pennsylvania-based health care staffing firm, was accused of disability discrimination by refusing to hire a nursing assistant because he had HIV. Like other forms of disability discrimination, HIV discrimination is illegal and employers who deny job opportunities to people suffering from HIV can face stiff penalties.

The healthcare company offered a conditional job offer to the nursing assistant pending a medical examination, claims the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). However, the company allegedly rescinded the job offer less than a month later when the examination indicated that the nursing assistant was HIV-positive.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced the $20 million Verizon settlement representing the agency's largest ever settlement in a disability discrimination case.

According to the EEOC's announcement, Verizon Communications, the telecom giant, was accused of discriminating against hundreds of disabled workers nationwide. The EEOC claimed that the discrimination stemmed from Verizon's "no fault" attendance policy that negatively affected workers with disabilities.

The no fault attendance policy basically gave all employees (disabled or not) a set number of allowable absences. If employees exceeded that number, they were disciplined and sometimes terminated.

Workers And The ADA In Philadelphia

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that prevents discrimination against those in the workforce who have disabilities. Although the ADA serves to protect disabled individuals, it also leaves some ambiguity in knowing what qualifies a person as "disabled" and when accommodation is "reasonable." FindLaw offers insight for employees in Philadelphia who seek a better understanding of the ADA and how it applies in the workforce.

According to the ADA, a person in Philly is considered disabled if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that considerably limits a "major life activity," like walking, talking, seeing, or learning. Determining whether or not a worker is disabled happens on a case-by-case basis. To be limited by a disability, it must keep the employee from being able to work a broad range of jobs. Some disabilities include blindness, wheelchair confinement, and a learning disability.