Resolving Conflicts Between Emotional Support Animals in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act

The New Elephant in the Room

By: Mike Ward and Jonathan Gonzalez

The recent public discourse (and comedy) surrounding odd uses of animals for emotional support including squirrels and alligators, makes it easy to lose sight of the fact that many people suffering from diagnosed emotional or mental disabilities rely daily on animals of all types for emotional support.  Registrations of emotional support animals have risen exponentially over the past decade, which has resulted in a need for many, including employers, to confront those who claim to need animals for support.  Employers in Virginia may have legal justification for excluding disruptive animals from the workplace, but they should be aware of the potential compliance pitfalls under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) before making quick decisions about animals brought by employees. 

Employee’s Use of Emotional Support Animals and Compliance with the ADA

Under the ADA, it is unlawful to discriminate against a person in employment on the basis of the employee’s actual, documented, or perceived disability.  This bar on disability discrimination extends to hiring, firing, promotion, pay, harassment, and other significant employment decisions.  While the ADA’s main purpose is to protect the rights of the disabled in the workplace, the law is conscious of the needs of employers to maintain safe and effective workplaces.  The ADA requires an employer to make reasonable accommodations for an

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Claimant Refuses to Attend FCE, Commission Denies Employer’s Application for Hearing

 

Workers' Compensation Case Watch

In Manion v. Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Ctr., the claimant needed a new physician because her doctor was no longer providing pain management. The employer asked a nurse case manager to find a new doctor for the claimant and to obtain a Functional Capacity Evaluation (“FCE”) from the physician. The nurse got an FCE referral from the new doctor and scheduled the appointment. She told the claimant about the appointment in person and left her several message about it. The claimant said she would not attend and cancelled the FCE.                                                                                                                                   

The defendant filed an Employer’s Application for Hearing alleging refusal of medical treatment because the claimant did not go to the FCE. The Deputy Commissioner denied the Application because the scheduled FCE was not medically necessary treatment. On review, the Full Commission cited the longstanding principal that the claimant’s medical treatment is directed by the treating physician and not the defendants. They noted that a

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Chandler Test Must be Applied to Requests for Spousal Care

 

Workers' Compensation Case Watch

In Ross v. Cumberland Hospital, the claimant sustained a severe brain injury. Her doctor said it was medically necessary that she have a home health aide or family member oversight to assist her with activities of daily living and monitor safety concerns. The claimant filed a claim asking that her spouse be paid to provide home health care to her.

The Commission found that spousal care should be authorized. In reaching that conclusion,

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Defense Verdict Obtained for Concrete Pumping Company and Driver

Trial attorney James Snyder and his team obtained a defense verdict on behalf of a concrete pumping company and its driver in a Virginia Circuit Court jury trial. The plaintiff, a passenger in a vehicle her husband was driving, filed a $1,000,000 lawsuit against the defendants, alleging the concrete pump truck operator failed to keep a proper lookout and, by doing so, caused a T-bone accident. The defendants, however, asserted the plaintiff’s host vehicle failed to yield to the oncoming concrete pump truck and pulled in front of the truck, leaving the driver with no time to avoid the accident, despite his best efforts.

The injuries to the plaintiff were significant and not contested at trial. The plaintiff

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Fraud Alert - Phone Numbers from the Ombudsman's Office Being Used in Scam Calls

View Homeland Security Bulletin

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General Data Protection Regulation in U.S. Litigation through Mid-Summer 2019

Originally published by International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC), Defense Counsel Journal Volume 86, No. 4

IN JANUARY 2012, the European Commission set out plans for data protection reform across the European Union. One of the key components of the reforms was the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).1

The GDPR is a comprehensive set of rules designed to give European Union citizens more control over their personal data. The GDPR applies, generally, to any organization operating within the European Union, as well as organizations outside of the European Union which offer goods or services to customers or businesses in the European Union among others. Almost every major corporation in the world is affected by this legislation. This legislation came into force across the European Union in May 2018.

There has been considerable uncertainty how GDPR will be addressed in litigation commenced in the United States. However, as a year has passed, motions relating to GDPR are beginning to be adjudicated, and trends are starting to occur. This article provides a detailed summary of courts’ treatment of GDPR-related arguments and summarizes the potential impact of GDPR on United States litigation.

I. Impact of GDPR currently

As of July 19, 2019, eleven federal cases reference “GDPR” or the “General Data Protection Regulation.” No state court cases appear. Of the cases returned, four are from the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York,2 and two are from California,3 one  from the Central District of California and the Northern District of California. The remaining five cases originate from District Courts in Washington, Maryland, Alabama, Utah, and Florida.4

These eleven cases generally involve discovery disputes, often in intellectual property matters. In these scenarios, the responding party has raised GDPR as a bar or impediment to

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The New Overtime Rule for Exempt Employees

By: Samantha S. Otero, Business Law Practice Group

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McCandlish Holton Ranked Tier 1 by U.S. News “Best Law Firms” 2020

McCandlish Holton is recognized for 11 practice areas in the 2020 edition of US News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms.” The firm received metropolitan Richmond Tier 1 ratings in Immigration, Commercial Litigation, Immigration Law, and Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants. Eight additional practice areas earned Richmond Metro ratings. See the full ratings here:  U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” 2020.

Tier 1 - Richmond Metropolitan Area

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McCandlish Holton Honored by ALFA International as 2019 Law Firm of the Year

ALFA International has recognized McCandlish Holton as its 2019 "Law Firm of the Year."

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Fee Increase For Premium Processing of Immigration Petitions

The US Department of Homeland Security will announce an increase in the Premium Processing fee for many immigration petitions from $1410 to $1440.  Premium Processing allows certain immigration filings (such as I-129 filings for H1B or other work visas; and I-140 petitions for Immigrant Workers) to be processed in 15 days instead of many months.  The proposed rule increasing the fee will be published in the federal register on October 31, and will take effect 30 days from then.  The fee increase will apply to any petitions postmarked on or after November 29, 2019. Read the Final Rule.

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