LIEB BLOG

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Showing posts with label ADA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ADA. Show all posts

Friday, May 13, 2022

AI Employment Decisions Cause Disability Discrimination Per EEOC / DOJ

Many employers utilize artificial intelligence or algorithms to select new employees, monitor performance, and determine pay or promotions. There are scored tests and resume analysis that are both common place in the big business world. However, the EEOC and DOJ just shot a cannon across the bow of big business' boat by stating that "[t]hese tools may result in unlawful discrimination against people with disabilities in violation of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA)."


To determine if discrimination has occurred, consider the following questions:

  1. Was there an accommodations policy available and made known to employees / applicants?
    1. If not, there likely was discrimination.
  2. Does the AI / algorithm ask about the precise nature of the disability / medical condition? 
    1. If so, there likely was discrimination. 

If either of these questions ring true, or if you are working with such AI / algorithms with employment decisions, you should consult with a discrimination attorney and/or review the EEOC / DOJ Guidance Here



Friday, May 06, 2022

Education Discrimination & Your Rights - What Victims Should Know

Education discrimination is illegal throughout the United States and in certain states, like New York, there are even greater protections, rights, and damages available to victims and their parents. 


When it comes to education, you and your child have a right to be free from harassment, bullying and other forms of wrongful discrimination that is perpetrated by teachers, the administration, or even other students (your peers). This applies to public schools, non-religious private schools, colleges and universities. Simply, you and your child can't be denied a right to learn because of who you are. 


Anti-discrimination laws in education apply regardless of whether the discrimination is explicit or implicit. While we've all heard about equal access to sports between the sexes / genders, or even teachers having sex with their students, discrimination lawsuits more commonly concern bullying of minorities, the failure to give testing accommodations to disabled students, and, even, the failure to extend days off to religious observers. Simply, it is the administration's duty to make education equally accessible to all and this failure can result in a lawsuit.  


On the federal level, Title IX of the Educational Amendments protects against sex discrimination while Title VI of the Civil Rights Act addresses race, color, and national origin discrimination, and finally Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects against disability discrimination. However, these federal laws on education discrimination were just limited by the Supreme Court and can, mostly, no longer result in victims receiving emotional distress or punitive damages.


Nonetheless, states, like New York, provide victims with the right to recover for their emotional distress and punitive damages. Moreover, New York adds protections by covering victims of discrimination with respect to additional categories, such as race, color, religion, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, age and marital status. New York even makes clear that it's own public school districts can be held accountable for discrimination based on an amendment to its laws from July 25, 2019, A3425.


If you or your child were a victim of education discrimination, it is important to act quickly and file your claim after hiring a lawyer. In New York State, claims against public school districts must be filed within 3 months after the discriminatory event. While the State's anti-discrimination laws otherwise provide up to 3 years for lawsuits against non-public schools (i.e., private schools / colleges / universities), it's nonetheless important to act quickly to preserve all the discriminatory evidence (i.e., audio / video), which is done by immediately sending what is known as a spoliation notice.


To be clear, discrimination victims, in New York, can recover compensatory damages (being made whole with emotional distress damages), punitive damages (punishment damages), and your attorneys' fees. The perpetrator can lose their license (if licensed as educators or otherwise), be required to take trainings, and be ordered to stop their offensive behavior. There are fines and more. Discrimination is wrong and must be stopped. 


Don't be afraid to speak-up. If you are advancing an anti-discrimination right for yourself or your child, you are protected from retaliation. Even if it is ultimately found that you or your child was not discriminated against, you both can nonetheless be compensated for facing unlawful coercion, intimidation, threats, or other types of interference with your anti-discrimination rights. Again, this is not just true if you are advancing your own rights, it also applies if you are raising your child's rights, or another student's rights, because anti-retaliation laws protect anyone who aids and/or encourages someone else in exercising their rights to be free from discrimination. 




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Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Handicapped Parking Discrimination - Proposed Legislation

A disabled individual can sue a property owner and its tenants for discrimination if technical specifications for handicapped parking are not followed to a tee. 

The Americans with Disabilities Act provides disabled individuals with a national right to have access at places of public accommodation, including by such places providing the right number / dimensions / signage as to handicapped spaces. On the state and local level, disabled individuals have even greater rights as against property owners and tenants for parking access discrimination. Taken together, property owners and tenants are charged with doing the right thing or losing their shirt in a discrimination lawsuit. 

Yet, what happens when a property owner and their tenants do the right thing, but some IDIOT blocks the spaces? New York State's Legislators have proposed an amendment to the Vehicle and Traffic Law to increase enforcement against blocking spots by expanding the types of properties that are subject to the law where officers can ticket the offender and remove / impound the vehicle. 

If the law passes, A9805 will also become applicable to "a shopping center or facility which at least one but less than five separate retail stores and at least twenty off street parking spaces provided for use by the shopping public." 

However, the ticket is just $50 to $75. Is that enough? 




Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Dollar General to Pay Workers to Get COVID Vaccine, But Can They Without Getting Sued for Discrimination?

According to Business Insider, Dollar General is paying their employees to get the COVID vaccine, but is that legal? 


Back in 2017, the federal courts, in AARP v. EEOC, addressed the issue of paying employees for participation in wellness programs and found that both the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act were violated because the incentives permitted rendered the programs not voluntary, as required by law. The incentive, at issue in the case, was "up to 30% of the cost of self-only coverage." 


How does that comport with what Dollar General is now doing? 

They are offering four hours of pay to their employees. 

Is that too much to make participation voluntary? 


Ironically, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is proposing a new regulation about this voluntary standard in the Federal Register for public comment. This new regulation proposes to change the 30% incentive limit (as addressed in the federal case above) to a de minimis incentive limit. In fact, the regulation gives examples of a permitted de minimis incentive, like a water bottle or modest gift card.


Isn't four hours of pay worth a lot more than a water bottle? Is Dollar General going to get sued for this program. What do you think? 




Monday, June 29, 2020

EEOC Guidance on Antibody Tests and COVID-19 Tests

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published guidance concerning business practices that are both safe and compliant with anti-discrimination laws during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance discusses various relevant practices but most notable of which is the EEOC’s guidance on medical examinations prior to employees re-entering the workplace. According to the EEOC, antibody tests may not be required by employers for employees to re-enter the workplace, but employers may require employees to undergo a COVID-19 test to re-enter.

The EEOC advised that antibody tests should not be used to make decisions about returning to the workplace and currently does not meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)’s “job related and consistent with business necessity” standard for medical examinations for current employees. This standard applies to any mandatory medical test for employees. Thus, an antibody test may not be required for an employee to enter the workplace and employers should be aware that requiring antibody tests could be the basis of a discrimination claim.

On the other hand, tests which determine if someone has an active case of COVID-19 are permissible under the ADA and employers may use it to make decisions on whether an employee should return to the workplace. The distinction is that an employee who is currently infected with COVID-19 poses “a direct threat to the health of others.” However, employers should still be aware of the possibility of an employee testing false-positive or false-negative and employers should ensure that tests are accurate and reliable.

Nonetheless, employers are encouraged to practice social distancing, regular handwashing, and the wearing of PPE’s as there is no certainty that employees will not be infected with COVID-19 after the test is administered. In addition, employers should contact counsel to have a tailored COVID-19 safety plan compliant with federal anti-discrimination laws and regulations while ensuring a safe workplace for employees.