Employers Can Deny Disability Accommodations if They Can Prove Undue Hardship

In California, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for applicants or employees with physical or mental disabilities.[1] However, an employer does not have to provide accommodations if those accommodations create an “undue hardship” for the employer.[2] California law defines undue hardship as an “action requiring significant difficulty or expense.”[3] When deciding whether a potential accommodation […]


The EEOC’s Guidelines on an Employer’s Duty to Provide Reasonable Accommodation

Under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), individuals with disabilities are entitled to changes in the work environment, also known as “reasonable accommodations,” that allow them to enjoy the same opportunities in the workplace as individuals without disabilities.  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has issued enforcement guidance on reasonable accommodations under […]


Ninth Circuit Considers Whether Morbid Obesity is a Disability Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

Plaintiff Jose Valtierra, a facility maintenance technician, sued his employer Medtronic, Inc. alleging that he was terminated on account of his disability, morbid obesity, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Mr. Valtierra worked for Medtronic, Inc. for about ten years.  By the last year of his employment, he had gained 70 pounds, taken time off due to joint pain, and struggled to walk.  Mr. Valtierra’s supervisor, noticing that the employee was struggling to walk, allegedly became concerned about whether Mr. Valtierra was able to complete his work assignments.  When the supervisor checked the computer system, he discovered that Mr. Valtierra had falsified work records, so Medtronic, Inc. terminated him.

The district court looked at whether Mr. Valtierra suffered from a disability for purposes of the ADA and whether Medtronic’s termination was unlawful.  Continue reading “Ninth Circuit Considers Whether Morbid Obesity is a Disability Under the Americans with Disabilities Act”