On April 5, 2016, NELA was joined by our colleagues from the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, in support of the Plaintiff-Appellant Kristin Punt in Punt v. Kelly Services & GE Solutions Controls.
The district court granted summary judgment against the Plaintiff regarding her failure to accommodate claim, based on an out-of-context interpretation of Cisneros v. Wilson (10th Cir. 2000), regarding whether her request for medical leave as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was “indefinite.” Specifically, the district court erred by: 1) finding that the Plaintiff’s accommodation request amounted to a request for indefinite leave, and was thus unreasonable as a matter of law, because she could not specify how long her impairment would last, and therefore guarantee that she would not need additional future leave; 2) imposing no obligation on the Defendant to engage in the ADA’s interactive process; and 3) focusing on her cancer’s duration rather than on its workplace impact.
Our amicus brief makes three arguments:
1) It describes the extent to which the facts of this case are clearly distinguishable from the peculiar facts of … Read More
On March 3, 2014, NELA filed an amicus curiae brief in Travers v. Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in support of plaintiff Patricia Travers who was wrongfully terminated in violation of the ADA and in retaliation for taking FMLA leave. The court in the Middle District of Tennessee granted Cellco’s motion for summary judgment on Travers’ disability claim for two reasons. First, it found insufficient evidence that Travers was “regarded as” having a disability because Travers did not show that she was regarded as unable to do her job or as being substantially limited in performing the tasks of her job. Second, the court found insufficient evidence that the alleged misconduct was pretext. The definition of disability under the ADAAA is one of NELA’s current amicus priorities.
Travers had been terminated immediately upon her return to work after taking approved medical leave, allegedly for waiving mail in rebates for customers. Verizon’s FMLA leave is handled by third party administrator, MetLife. In order for an employee to not be penalized for taking medical leave, it must be designated as FMLA after the employee has gone through a cumbersome qualification process. Any … Read More
NELA filed an amicus brief in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. in support of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s petition for rehearing en banc before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, in which the panel reversed a grant of summary judgment to the EEOC in this religious accommodation case, and granted summary judgment in favor of Abercrombie & Fitch. In a 93-page opinion, containing a strong dissent, the majority dismissed the plaintiff’s religious accommodation claim because she never informed Abercrombie that she wore her hijab for religious reasons and needed an accommodation for that practice due to a conflict between the practice and Abercrombie’s clothing policy. The assistant manager who interviewed the plaintiff, however, assumed she was a Muslim and wore a hijab for that reason. The plaintiff was never made aware of Abercrombie’s clothing policy, and thus was unaware of any conflict between that policy and wearing a hijab. The EEOC’s petition focuses on the Tenth Circuit’s creation of a rigid prima facie case requirement in this case, which is contrary to Tenth Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court precedent. Its brief also addressed the court’s requirement that the individual must be the source … Read More
NELA was joined by The Arc of the Unites States, the National Disability Rights Network, The Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities, and Disability Rights Vermont on an amicus brief in this case to ensure that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit had a full understanding of the ADA Amendments Act’s (ADAAA) changes to the disability analysis and, when applying those changes, of the inherent nature of intellectual disability. Both are issues of first impression for the Second Circuit and both analyses were badly botched by the district court. Author: Brian East… Read More
On July 14, 2013, NELA joined AARP in filing an amicus brief supporting Carl Summers, a contract statistician with Altarum Institute Corp. who sustained serious injury to both legs in 2011 accident, in his appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Mr. Summers was terminated while recuperating from these injuries despite properly requesting an accommodation under the federal disability laws. Amici address several aspects of disability law not analyzed with clarity or precision by the district court, including the significance of enactment of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) as well as the issuance of revised regulations by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regarding the status of non-permanent medical conditions. In particular, the district court failed to properly analyze whether Summers was “substantially limited” in a “major life activity,” and whether Altarum “failed” to “reasonably” accommodate his injuries.
Authors: Daniel B. Kohrman, Brian East… Read More