Disability Discrimination Articles

Employee Medical Exams Only Permitted After Other Job Offer Contingencies Satisfied

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            The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that employers must strictly follow all procedural aspects of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) to avoid liability. Leonel v. American Airlines, Inc., 400 F.3d 702 (9th Cir. 2005). Specifically, the court held that an employer’s hiring process may violate the ADA and related state statutes if it does not exactly follow the ADA-prescribed sequence.

ADA’s Direct Threat Defense

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Echazabal v. Chevron USA, Inc.: Conquering the Final Frontier of Paternalistic Employment Practices

I.    Introduction

            For over eighty years the federal government has taken increasingly aggressive steps to support the disabled by providing rehabilitative services and enacting legislation to reduce discriminatory practices.[1] While significant progress has been made, a series of federal appellate decisions have set back these advancements by finding that the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)[2] permits employers to exclude otherwise qualified disabled individuals from positions solely because placement in the job would pose a risk to their own health or safety.[3] Some courts have gone even further by placing the burden on the disabled to prove that such safety concerns do not make them unqualified for the position they seek.[4] A recent case, Echazabal v. Chevron, USA, Inc., handed down by the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit signaled a giant step toward reversing this trend by requiring employers to ignore self-risk concerns and permit the disabled to judge for themselves the relative risks of an employment opportunity without outside interference.


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