With a slow post-Fourth of July news week and the recent end
of the Supreme Court term, I first wanted to touch on an international article
that shows the U.S. does not have a monopoly on failing to protect employee’s
rights. The European Court of Justice
recently ruled that Italy has failed to provide necessary protections to
persons with disabilities. The EU
Council had passed a directive requiring member states to enact national laws
allowing for better workforce access by those with disabilities, and Italy had
failed, in the Court’s opinion, to take “meaningful steps” towards realizing
that goal. The EU system requires member
states to implement directives, which are regulations passed by the EU Council,
where the directive does not have “direct effect,” such as here, where Italy
was required to take independent action to protect the workplace rights of the
disabled. In doing so, the Court
propounded a broad interpretation of the idea of “reasonable accommodation,”
and noted that Italy had primarily failed in implementing the broad scope
required by the directive.
Last week, the BART strike in San Francisco ended after the
union and the transit system agreed to continue the current contract until
August 4 while negotiations are ongoing.
The dispute concerned, typically, salaries, pension contributions,
healthcare benefits, with the transit system arguing for increased employee
contributions to lower long-term costs and entitlement payouts.
Finally, here is a link to an EEOC case where a
vision-impaired bookkeeper was fired after not being able to drive to deliver
paychecks. The job requirement was never mentioned during
the hiring process, and the employer refused to discuss possible job accommodations. Under the ADA, an employer is not allowed to
make up additional job requirements in order to render the employee unable to
perform his duties. Here, it seems like
the employer was just going out of its way to get sued, a curious strategy when
it never had to hire the employee in the first place.