Hires v. City of Atlantic City, 2010 WL 2195653 (App. Div., June 1, 2010) – A police officer assigned to the Atlantic County Major Crimes Unit brought a claim for disability discrimination under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination after the gruesome nature of his work led to severe psychological damages that left him totally and permanently disabled and unable to perform his job duties as a police officer. The Appellate Division rejected the employee’s claim that the employer failed to engage in an interactive process to identify a reasonable accommodation. The court held: “An employer is not obligated to engage in an interactive process and to accommodate a disabled employee where the employee’s disability reasonably precludes the performance of the particular employment. Where such permanent disability exists, the employer is not even required to offer a temporary accommodation such as light duty. An employer cannot be found liable for discrimination if the employee is permanently disabled and cannot perform the job.”
In the ever-changing healthcare industry, one consistent trend has emerged in recent years—a shift from physicians being employed by physician-owned practices to physicians being employed by larger healthcare entities. In the event a physician employment relationship deteriorates, and because a difficult physician separation can have substantial consequences, healthcare entities and physicians may want to consider a number of factors and steps that could avoid time-consuming and expensive litigation.
Last month, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, No. 13–1339 (May 16, 2016). Spokeo involved a lawsuit brought under the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970 (FCRA). However, the Court’s opinion in Spokeo may create some new opportunities for defending against a broad range of claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), including at least some types of fiduciary breach cases and perhaps even claims against plan administrators for a statutory penalty based on an alleged failure to provide copies of plan documents on request.
On January 12, 2020, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division released the final changes to its joint-employer regulation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Originally proposed in April 2019, the updated regulation provides a clear, bright-line standard that is intended to clarify the circumstances in which a business entity may be determined to be a joint employer of another entity’s employees.