Disability Workplace Discrimination Synopsis

By Kathleen Pohlid Founder and Managing Member, Pohlid, PLLC | August 04, 2013

American workers with disabilities, who satisfy the essential requirements for their job, have greater protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments to obtain accommodations in their employment. The ADAAA shifted the primary focus from Does the employee have a disability? to Has the employer complied with their obligations? and Did discrimination occur? This shift necessitates that employers both know and comply with their obligations under the ADA Amendments and the ADA revised regulations issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The ADA, enacted in 1990, provides legal rights to persons with disabilities including access to public and commercial facilities, transportation, state and government services and protection against discrimination in their employment. The ADA Amendments, which went into effect on January 1, 2009, kept the same definition of disability but greatly expanded how terms under the ADA are interpreted. The EEOC revised regulations went into effect on May 24, 2011. All of these changes broadened the employee protections under the ADA and impose important obligations for employers.

Employer Obligations

Employer” is defined under the ADA to include those employers who are engaged in interstate commerce with 15 or more employees, during 20 or more weeks in the current or past calendar year. “Employer” may include a private employer, employment agency, labor organization or joint labor-management committee.

Under the ADA, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees due to their disability and from subjecting them to a workplace in which they are harassed on the basis of their disability. Unlawful discrimination includes discrimination in recruitment, advertising and application procedures and conditions of employment including hiring, promotion, tenure, demotion, transfer, layoff, compensation, assignments, position, seniority, leave, and benefits.

The ADA also prohibits qualification standards and tests related to uncorrected vision unless the requirements are job related for the position and are consistent with business necessity. Employment discrimination can occur if the employer fails or refuses to provide a qualified employee or applicant for employment with a reasonable accommodation.

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.