Essential Job Functions

Q: One of our employees has been exhibiting strange, erratic behavior at work. Can we require the employee to submit to a mental health examination?

A: Possibly. The ADA prohibits employers from requiring their workers to undergo medical exams unless the exam is “shown to be job-related and consistent with business necessity.”  However, an employer may require an employee to undergo a mental health examination if the employee’s behavior raises questions about the employee’s ability to perform essential job-related functions or raises a safety concern.
Continue Reading Employer May Require Employee to Undergo Mental Fitness for Duty Exam if Employee Exhibits Concerning Behavior

As my colleague considered several months ago, organizations like the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) have been fighting for decades to counter the prejudices many have against obese individuals.  As part of its efforts, NAAFA is working to establish federal and state laws making obesity a protected class.  To date, however, these efforts have only resulted in one state (Michigan) and a handful of cities passing laws making weight-based discrimination illegal.

While efforts to make obesity a protected class have not been especially successful, there has, however, been more movement towards the greater recognition of obesity as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).   My colleague previously noted that a federal district court in Louisiana had found that an employee who weighed 527 pounds at the time of her termination was “an individual with a disability” as defined under the ADA.
Continue Reading Fired for Being Too Fat? The ADA May Make That Illegal