ADA Litigation Lessons Surfaced From a Zamboni Machine

Employers, you see this movie all too often. You tolerate, and then ultimately discharge, a poor-performing employee who displays a bad attitude. Unfortunately, supervisors have not documented the employee’s prior instances of insubordinate and adversarial behavior. In addition, he hurt himself on the job, filed a workers’ compensation claim, and presented medical restrictions. In his mind, he cannot believe that he was the problem. So he sues, alleging that you failed to accommodate his disability and unlawfully terminated his employment.

Seventh Circuit Holds That Obesity Alone Is Not a Protected Disability Under the ADA

In a matter of first impression before the court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently held in Richardson v. Chicago Transit Authority, Nos. 17-3508 and 18-2199 (June 12, 2019), that obesity is not a protected disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) unless a plaintiff can demonstrate that it is caused by an underlying physiological disorder or condition. With the decision, the Seventh Circuit brought clarity to a novel issue previously unresolved for employers in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

Seventh Circuit Preaches on the Ministerial Exception

For the first time since a 2012 decision by the Supreme Court of the United States, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals elaborated on and applied the Supreme Court’s four-factor analysis to determine whether a position is properly considered a ministerial roles. In its recent decision in Grussgott v. Milwaukee Jewish Day School, Inc., No. 17-2332 (February 13, 2018), the Seventh Circuit broke a 2-to-2 tie among the four factors and held that the circumstances in the case of a teacher at a Jewish school supported the conclusion that the teacher’s position was subject to the ministerial exception.

Seventh Circuit Finds Five-Year Sale-of-Business Noncompete Agreement Valid

In E.T. Products, LLC v. D.E. Miller Holdings, Inc., the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that noncompete agreements signed by sellers of a business were enforceable under Indiana law, but the sellers did not violate the agreements. In doing so, the court provided valuable considerations for drafting valid noncompete agreements in the context of a sale of business.

Indiana Legislature Bans “Ban the Box” Ordinances

Some cities and counties across the country have enacted local ordinances restricting the ability of employers to inquire into the criminal histories of applicants during various stages of the job application process. (These ordinances are commonly known as “ban the box” legislation.) However, the Indiana General Assembly recently passed a bill that prohibits local governments from adopting such ordinances in Indiana.

Seventh Circuit Finds Sexual Orientation Discrimination Is Sex Discrimination Under Title VII, SCOTUS Review Likely

On April 4, 2017, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued its highly anticipated en banc decision in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, making the Seventh Circuit the first federal appellate court to find that sexual orientation is encompassed in Title VII of the Civil Right Act of 1964’s definition of sex.

The Rising Minimum Wages and Tip Credits for 2017: An Overview

Effective January 1, 2017, 29 states plus the District of Columbia will have minimum wage rates that are above the federal minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour. The District of Columbia will continue to have, as it did last year, one of the highest minimum wage rates in the country at $11.50 per hour until July 1, 2017, and $12.50 per hour after that date. With respect to state minimum wages, Massachusetts and Washington will have the highest minimum wages at $11.00 per hour effective January 1, 2017, with California close behind at $10.50 per hour (for employers with 26 or more employees), effective January 1, 2017, and Connecticut following at $10.10 per hour, effective January 1, 2017.