Archive for the ‘Affirmative Action News’ Category

Black Organization Joins Supreme Court Brief in Fisher v. University of Texas

The National Center for Public Policy Research
Press Release
For Release: October 20, 2011 Contact: David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or (703) 568-4727 or project21@nationalcenter.org

Black Organization Joins Supreme Court Brief in Fisher v. University of TexasGroup Joins Pacific Legal Foundation, American Civil Rights Foundation, National Association of Scholars and Center for Equal Opportunity in Seeking Clarity on Race-Based School Admissions Standards

Washington, D.C. – The black leadership network Project 21 has joined a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a case asking the Court to revisit race-based admissions standards at colleges and universities.
“What’s to be decided in this latest challenge to race-based preferences is something very fundamental — should an applicant to a college or university be rewarded or penalized simply because of the color of their skin,” said Project 21 spokesman Joe R. Hicks, a former executive director of the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Los Angeles City Human Relations Commission. “The U.S. Supreme Court skirted this essential issue in 2003 when it faced the issue of racial preferences in Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger. Now, in Fisher v. University of Texas, while not frontally challenging the Court’s 2003 ruling, what’s being asked is that race neutral standards be applied before any pandering to ‘diversity’ occurs. What’s factually clear is that had Abigail Fisher been black or Hispanic she would have been eagerly accepted to the University of Texas. Instead, she was rejected. No matter how you parse it, this amounts to discrimination.”
Project 21 joined an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Abigail Noel Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. The brief was written by the Pacific Legal Foundation and, in addition to Project 21, has been joined by the Center for Equal Opportunity, American Civil Rights Foundation and National Association of Scholars.
In the case of Fisher v. Texas, plaintiff Abigail Fisher, who is white, claims that racial preferences in the University of Texas at Austin enrollment process in 2008 caused her to be rejected in favor of lesser-qualified candidates who are racial minorities. Her appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court seeks to determine if UT’s race-based admissions policy presents a “compelling, otherwise unsatisfied, government interest and narrow tailoring to advance their interest” as it pertains to the equal protection guarantee of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Race-based admissions were outlawed in Texas in 1996 by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Hopwood decision. Afterward, in 1997, Texas legislators passed legislation signed by then-Governor George W. Bush that granted automatic public college and university admission to high school students in the top ten percent of their graduating classes. This law is credited with increasing black and Hispanic enrollment above pre-Hopwood levels. On June 23, 2003, however, the day the U.S. Supreme Court cited a “compelling state interest” for certain classroom diversity standards in its ruling in Grutter v. Bollinger, UT officials announced they would re-introduce racial considerations into the application process.
“Color-coded admission standards are unnecessary, and they have no role in the 21st century. Such race-based standards send the wrong message to our youth – that a person’s skin color matters more than one’s character and merit,” said Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli. “Proposing special treatment to one group while denying another group access based on race is discriminatory against all parties and may lead to race-based animosity.” The brief Project 21 joins states that the lower court decisions in this case conflict with previous U.S. Supreme Court interpretations because they interpret public universities as always having a compelling interest to promote “racial diversity” and are not required to give “serious, good faith consideration to less restrictive race-neutral policies.”
“Review is crucial,” the brief argues, “to restore meaningful limits on government’s authority to discriminate based on race.”
In explaining the perversion of the Court’s Grutter ruling, the brief notes:
Instead of viewing Grutter as a warning to exhaust race-neutral alternatives before adopting a race-conscious admissions plan, the University of Texas viewed Grutter as a blueprint for creating race-conscious measures as a first option… The Fisher panel abandoned narrow tailoring when it ignored the need for the University to seek out race-neutral alternatives before resorting to a race-conscious admissions policy. This Court should grant review to clarify that Grutter does not sanction this race-first attitude in university admissions.
The brief points out how Proposition 209, a ballot initiative passed by California voters in 1997, which outlawed public university admissions preferences, forced schools at the elementary and high school level to offer more preparation for minority students that is credited with increasing minority university enrollment to pre-1997 levels. This non-discriminatory approach is similar to the Texas top-percent law abandoned by UT in 2003. “There is no harm in seeking diversity across our institutions of higher learning. The danger, however, is when diversity is sought and defined in terms of race only,” said Project 21 spokeswoman Lisa Fritsch, who lives in Austin. “What can one person offer in terms of humanity and diversity that is race-specific? What can one race provide in terms of uniqueness that another cannot? Individual persons should be judged based on their unique set of accomplishments and achievements according to the standards set by the university irrespective of race. Otherwise, it isn’t true diversity that is gained, but instead looming suspicion and an interior statement that a true academic and mental equality cannot exist between human beings. The compelling interest is to make sure we are not a society that continually says minority students are unable to meet required academic criteria and expectations that other students are deemed able and held accountable.” Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives since 1992, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research (http://www.nationalcenter.org).
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http://www.nationalcenter.org/P21PR-Fisher_102011.html

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AAAA Announces New Finance Committee Chair and "EEO Tipster"

AAAA Announces a New Finance Committee Chair and EEO “Tipster”

AAAA is pleased to announce that Derry “Dean” Sparlin, Esq. has joined the AAAA Board of Directors as chair of the Finance Committee. Dean recently served as Treasurer for the AAAA 2011 Summit in Atlantic City.
Dean Sparlin is a lawyer and affirmative action consultant based in Fairfax, Virginia. He represents and advises management on employment issues, specializing in affirmative action plans and other applications of sophisticated statistical techniques to the field of employment law. In doing so, he draws upon his legal education at the College of William and Mary, a masters degree in statistics at George Mason University, and nearly 20 years of experience as a practicing attorney and affirmative action consultant.
Mr. Sparlin earned his J.D. in 1986 from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary. While at William and Mary, he served as Managing Editor of the William and Mary Law Review and became a member of the Order of the Coif, a national honor society for top law students at select member institutions. He is a member of the bars of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the District of Columbia, and various federal courts.
Welcome Dean!

Leslie M. Solondz, Esq., has joined our group submitting EEO Tips to AAAA members. The EEO Tips, which are sent out weekly via the AAAA Listserv, provide information about EEO, affirmative action or diversity matters. The Tips are a benefit of AAAA membership.
Ms. Solondz is Senior Director, Employment Practices & Compliance, Republic Services, in Phoenix, Arizona. Prior to joining Republic Services, she was a partner in the law firm of Seyfarth Shaw LLP and worked in its Atlanta office. At Seyfarth, she devoted a considerable part of her practice to OFCCP compliance, affirmative action, pay equity and workforce diversity. Leslie is a graduate of the University of Georgia (J.D.) and Colgate University (B.A.). She is also a member of the Georgia and Tennessee bars and various federal courts. Ms. Solondz taught EEO Law for the AAAA Professional Development and Training Institute.
Welcome Leslie!

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An example of the expanded definition of "disability" under the ADAAA

Lexology.com
Bond Schoeneck & King
Kerry W. Langan
USA
October 11 2011

We all anticipated that the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA) would make it easier for certain medical conditions to qualify as protected disabilities. That was, after all, the point of the Act. Earlier this year, the EEOC provided us with an example of how the ADAAA may do so when it issued an informal discussion letter noting that it will now be easier for individuals with paruresis – commonly known as “shy bladder syndrome” – to meet the statutorily revised definition of a disability. This informal discussion letter is a clear reminder that employers should not make assumptions about whether a particular condition qualifies as a disability.

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Hiring People with Disabilities

The White House
Office of Public Engagement
Posted by John Berry on October 14, 2011 at 06:52 PM EDT

The Tony Coelho Award recognizes commitment and action to employ people with disabilities– in every available position. I was honored to accept this year’s award on behalf of OPM this past Wednesday. It reflects our work towards OPM’s simple goal: Hire the best.
At least two of our presidents, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, lived with disabilities. First-hand accounts tell us that President Lincoln experienced depression. From his wheelchair, President Roosevelt led America through a Great Depression and a World War.
The American people hired the best in those two cases, and we need to do more of that today. We need to tap into the creativity, the determination, and the smart minds in the disability community.
That’s why President Obama set the goal of the federal government being a model employer of people with disabilities. That’s why I set a goal at OPM that 10% of our hires should be people with disabilities – a goal we surpassed in 2011, with 11.2%. We’ve doubled our hiring among those with targeted disabilities, and we’re striving to hit our goal of making them 3% of our hires.
I see qualified people who are unacceptably underutilized even though they are willing and able to work and there are jobs they can excel at. This is unacceptable for all of us, because our nation will only continue to succeed if we leave no talent pool idle and untapped.
What didn’t stop Lincoln from reuniting our country shouldn’t stop anyone today from working as a defense civilian to continue protecting America.
What didn’t stop Roosevelt from fighting poverty and disease as President shouldn’t stop anyone from working at NIH to search for cures.
Remember, any of us could join this community in an instant.
While most people would fear such a change, the example of leaders like Dan Inouye in the Senate, Jim Langevin in the House of Representatives, and countless others shows that we should not.
Their service enriches our nation, and serves as a model to us all. Their example shows that you can live with a disability and make profound and lasting contributions to your neighbors, your community, and your country.
John Berry is the Director for the Office of Personnel Management

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/10/14/hiring-people-disabilities

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New Data from the U.S. Department of Education 2009-10 Civil Rights Data Collection Show Continuing Disparities in Educational Opportunities

U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights
June 30, 2011
Contact:
Public Affairs, (202) 401-1576, press@ed.gov

New Data from the U.S. Department of Education 2009-10 Civil Rights Data Collection Show Continuing Disparities in Educational Opportunities and Resources

Today, the U.S. Department of Education released data that cast much-needed light on disparities in educational resources and opportunities for students across the country. These data provide policymakers, educators and parents with critical information that will aid them in identifying inequities and targeting solutions to close the persistent educational achievement gap in America.
Known as the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), the data released today is the first installment of a two-part biennial survey. The survey covers approximately 7,000 school districts and more than 72,000 schools, and has also been significantly enhanced and made more accessible through improved data collection, additional data indicators, and publicly-accessible online tools for data analysis. Part 2 of the CRDC is expected to be released this fall.
“To meet President Obama’s goal to lead the world in college graduates by 2020, we need efficient, practical and accessible information like this to help guide our path,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “These data show that far too many students are still not getting access to the kinds of classes, resources and opportunities they need to be successful.”
The data released in Part 1 today includes information on: access to the rigorous sequence of college and career-ready math and science courses, the number of first and second-year teachers in schools, the number of high school counselors in schools, availability of pre-K and kindergarten programs, districts operating under desegregation orders or plans, and whether districts have written policies prohibiting harassment and bullying on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, or disability.
Within the 7,000 sampled school districts:
3,000 schools serving nearly 500,000 high school students offer no algebra 2 classes, and more than 2 million students in about 7,300 schools had no access to calculus classes.
Schools serving mostly African-American students are twice as likely to have teachers with one or two years of experience than are schools within the same district that serve mostly White students.
Only 2 percent of the students with disabilities are taking at least one Advanced Placement class.
Students with limited English proficiency make up 6 percent of the high school population (in grades 9-12), but are 15 percent of the students for whom algebra is the highest-level math course taken by the final year of their high school career.
Only 22 percent of local education agencies (LEAs) reported that they operated pre-k programs targeting children from low-income families.
Girls are underrepresented in physics, while boys are underrepresented in algebra II.

Full News Release: http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/new-data-us-department-education-2009-10-civil-rights-data-collection-show-conti

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Thomasville City Schools Settle EEOC Age Discrimination Suit

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
PRESS RELEASE
10-13-11

Federal Agency Obtains $25,000 for School Teacher Who Was Denied Promotion to Assistant Principal Due to Her Age
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Thomasville City Schools in Thomasville, N.C., will pay $25,000 and furnish other relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The settlement resolves the EEOC’s lawsuit charging that in 2007 and 2008 the school system failed to hire Arlene Lent for two assistant principal positions because of her age (54 at the time). Instead, the EEOC said, the system selected two younger, less qualified candidates. The EEOC’s lawsuit alleged that Lent met all of the minimum qualifications for the positions, while neither of the younger candidates who were selected did. At the time of the decision, Lent was a teacher in the same school district, had earned her North Carolina principal’s license and had 16 years of experience in education. Lent continues to teach in the school district.
Age discrimination violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which protects individuals aged 40 and older from employment discrimination.
In addition to paying $25,000 in monetary damages to Lent, the three-year consent decree resolving the case (EEOC v. Thomasville City Schools, Civil Action No. 1:10-CV-00686 filed in the Middle District of North Carolina), includes injunctive relief enjoining Thomasville City Schools from engaging in further discriminatory acts on the basis of age, provides for training on preventing age discrimination in hiring, and requires that the school system report information about its hiring practices to the EEOC.
“We are pleased that the EEOC was able to resolve this case,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office. “As the U.S. work force, populated significantly by baby boomers, continues to grow older, it’s even more important that employers ensure that their hiring decisions do not discriminate on the basis of age.”
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.

http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/10-13-11.cfm

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American Laser Centers To Pay $125,000 To Settle Sexual Harassment And Retaliation Suit By EEOC

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
PRESS RELEASE
10-11-11

Nation’s Largest Laser Hair Removal Company Allowed Harassment of Female Staff in Fresno and Fired Manager Who Complained, Federal Agency Charged

FRESNO, Calif. – American Laser Centers (ALC), the largest laser hair removal company in the U.S., will pay $125,000 and furnish other relief to settle claims of sexual harassment and retaliation at its site in Fresno, Calif., resolving a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to the original lawsuit, female staff at the company’s clinic in Fresno charged that they were sexually harassed since at least 2006 by the landlord for the facility in question. The women, including a clinic manager, faced frequent harassment which included leering, unwelcome touching, sexual advances and appearances in their work area by the visibly aroused landlord The harassment got to the point where one female employee felt compelled to bring her brother to work as a measure of protection.
The clinic manager and others reported the harassment to ALC district management in 2006, expressing fear of working with the landlord. The women’s fears were met with a superficial internal investigation with no finding of wrongdoing on the part the landlord and continued exposure to their feared harasser. The female clinic manager was fired just a week and a half after reporting the misconduct.
The EEOC originally filed suit in January 2010 in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California (EEOC v. American Laser Centers LLC, Case No. 1:09-CV-02247-AWI-DLB), arguing that the company’s failure to appropriately address the harassment of all the women, and the retaliatory discharge suffered by the manager who complained, violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII also prohibits employers from permitting third parties to harass their employees. A three-year consent decree reached by both parties effectively settles the suit for $125,000 in backpay and compensatory damages for distress suffered by the four female targets.
The consent decree also calls for injunctive relief to correct and prevent future instances of harassment, discrimination and retaliation at American Laser Center clinics in and around the company’s bay area region, which encompasses Fresno, Calif. Requirements include implementing anti-harassment and anti-retaliation policies and complaint procedures; annual compliance training for staff; designation of an internal EEO officer; holding managers accountable for engaging in such misconduct; posting an EEOC notice on the matter; and, reports on the handling of such complaints to the EEOC.
“We encourage employers to be vigilant about addressing complaints of harassment by third parties as well as employees,” said Anna Y. Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office, which includes Fresno in its jurisdiction. “Proactive action is important to prevent liability.”
Melissa Barrios, director of the EEOC’s Fresno Local Office, added, “Workers absolutely have the legal right to report harassment or discrimination suffered at work without repercussion. Employers who encourage such open communication can tackle civil rights abuses earlier on, thereby creating a more harmonious workplace and minimizing liability.”
According to its website, American Laser Centers is the nation’s largest and leading provider of laser-based skincare services, including laser hair removal, cellulite reduction and skin rejuvenation treatments. The company began operations in 2002 and currently operates over 150 clinics nationwide.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at www.eeoc.gov.

http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/10-11-11.cfm

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Credit checks in California now tougher than ever

Lexology.com
Fisher & Phillips LLP
USA
October 12 2011

Effective January 1, 2012, California employers will have to avoid yet another potential legal hazard that haunts businesses with the threat of costly penalties: the unauthorized use of consumer credit reports regarding job applicants and current employees.
Currently, pursuant to the California Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act, employers can request a consumer credit report (i.e., a report obtained from a consumer credit-reporting agency bearing on an individual’s credit worthiness, credit standing, or credit capacity) for purposes of evaluating an applicant or employee for employment, reassignment, or retention. But starting next year a valid reason for obtaining a consumer credit report should be viewed as being the exception rather than the rule.

Full Story: http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=e6149caa-f2a6-42f7-9b69-f399188bfe96&utm_source=Lexology+Daily+Newsfeed&utm_medium=HTML+email+-+Other+top+stories&utm_campaign=Lexology+subscriber+daily+feed&utm_content=Lexology+Daily+Newsfeed+2011-10-19&utm_term=

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Second Circuit finds that employers may be obligated to accommodate a disabled employee’s commute

Lexology.com
Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP
James R. Hays and Jonathan Sokolowski
USA
October 11 2011

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has held that under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Rehabilitation Act, employers may be required to assist disabled employees with their commute.
In Nixon-Tinkelman v. N.Y. City Dep’t of Health & Mental Hygiene, No. 10-3317-cv, 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 16569 (2d Cir. N.Y. Aug. 10, 2011), plaintiff Barbara Nixon-Tinkelman (“Plaintiff”), who has cancer, heart problems, asthma, and is hearing impaired, brought suit under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act alleging that the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (“Defendant” or “DOHMH”) failed to reasonably accommodate her disability. Specifically, following her transfer from Queens to Manhattan, Plaintiff requested that DOHMH accommodate her commute by transferring her back to an office location closer to her home in Queens. DOHMH ultimately denied Plaintiff’s request.

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Black Organization Joins Supreme Court Brief in Fisher v. University of Texas

The National Center for Public Policy ResearchPress ReleaseFor Release: October 20, 2011 Contact: David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or (703) 568-4727 or project21@nationalcenter.orgBlack Organization Joins Supreme Court Brief in Fisher v. University of TexasGroup Joins Pacific Legal Foundation, American Civil Rights Foundation, National Association of Scholars and Center for Equal Opportunity in Seeking Clarity […]

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AAAA Announces New Finance Committee Chair and "EEO Tipster"

AAAA Announces a New Finance Committee Chair and EEO “Tipster”AAAA is pleased to announce that Derry “Dean” Sparlin, Esq. has joined the AAAA Board of Directors as chair of the Finance Committee. Dean recently served as Treasurer for the AAAA 2011 Summit in Atlantic City.Dean Sparlin is a lawyer and affirmative action consultant based in […]

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An example of the expanded definition of "disability" under the ADAAA

Lexology.comBond Schoeneck & KingKerry W. LanganUSAOctober 11 2011We all anticipated that the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA) would make it easier for certain medical conditions to qualify as protected disabilities. That was, after all, the point of the Act. Earlier this year, the EEOC provided us with an example of how the ADAAA may […]

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Hiring People with Disabilities

The White HouseOffice of Public EngagementPosted by John Berry on October 14, 2011 at 06:52 PM EDTThe Tony Coelho Award recognizes commitment and action to employ people with disabilities– in every available position. I was honored to accept this year’s award on behalf of OPM this past Wednesday. It reflects our work towards OPM’s simple […]

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New Data from the U.S. Department of Education 2009-10 Civil Rights Data Collection Show Continuing Disparities in Educational Opportunities

U.S. Department of EducationOffice for Civil RightsJune 30, 2011Contact:Public Affairs, (202) 401-1576, press@ed.gov New Data from the U.S. Department of Education 2009-10 Civil Rights Data Collection Show Continuing Disparities in Educational Opportunities and ResourcesToday, the U.S. Department of Education released data that cast much-needed light on disparities in educational resources and opportunities for students across […]

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Thomasville City Schools Settle EEOC Age Discrimination Suit

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity CommissionPRESS RELEASE10-13-11Federal Agency Obtains $25,000 for School Teacher Who Was Denied Promotion to Assistant Principal Due to Her AgeGREENSBORO, N.C. – Thomasville City Schools in Thomasville, N.C., will pay $25,000 and furnish other relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency […]

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American Laser Centers To Pay $125,000 To Settle Sexual Harassment And Retaliation Suit By EEOC

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity CommissionPRESS RELEASE10-11-11Nation’s Largest Laser Hair Removal Company Allowed Harassment of Female Staff in Fresno and Fired Manager Who Complained, Federal Agency ChargedFRESNO, Calif. – American Laser Centers (ALC), the largest laser hair removal company in the U.S., will pay $125,000 and furnish other relief to settle claims of sexual harassment and […]

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Credit checks in California now tougher than ever

Lexology.comFisher & Phillips LLPUSAOctober 12 2011Effective January 1, 2012, California employers will have to avoid yet another potential legal hazard that haunts businesses with the threat of costly penalties: the unauthorized use of consumer credit reports regarding job applicants and current employees.Currently, pursuant to the California Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act, employers can request a […]

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Second Circuit finds that employers may be obligated to accommodate a disabled employee’s commute

Lexology.comSheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLPJames R. Hays and Jonathan SokolowskiUSAOctober 11 2011The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has held that under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Rehabilitation Act, employers may be required to assist disabled employees with their commute.In Nixon-Tinkelman v. N.Y. City Dep’t of Health & Mental Hygiene, No. 10-3317-cv, […]

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