The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Mountain States Health Alliance (MSHA) entered a settlement agreement to resolve a complaint filed against the company, which operates numerous health care facilities in Tennessee and Virginia.
A couple alleged that MSHA failed to provide auxiliary aids and services, including sign language interpreter services, needed to communicate effectively with hospital staff during the last six months of their adult daughter’s life.
MSHA will implement comprehensive policies and procedures to ensure that communication is effective for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the City of Philadelphia entered this agreement to settle a complaint filed by DOJ on behalf of a former sanitation worker. David Moore developed serious cardiac conditions and became unable to continue his duties. He made multiple requests for reassignment to another position, and although the city had several vacant positions for which he was qualified, he was not assigned to any of them.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed this complaint alleging that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) withdrew a job offer when it learned of the applicant’s seizure disorder, without engaging in any discussion of whether reasonable accommodations would be needed.
DC Court Denies AARP Motion for Preliminary Injunction to Stop EEOC Rule on Wellness Programs
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia denied a motion for a preliminary injunction in the case of AARP v U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). AARP sought a preliminary injunction to stop the application of the EEOC’s final rule on employer-sponsored wellness programs.
Employers are allowed to obtain employee health and disability-related information through wellness programs as long as participation is “voluntary.” The new EEOC rule considers a wellness program voluntary if an employee is not penalized more than 30% of the cost of self-only health coverage. AARP argues that such penalties are so significant (adding up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year for many workers) that they are coercive, and render associated wellness programs involuntary.
The court found a preliminary injunction inappropriate for a number of reasons, including the fact that individual plaintiffs’ claims are largely based on the financial harm they have experienced or will experience when they are penalized for refusing to participate in their employers’ wellness programs. The judge noted that financial harm is not “irreparable.” If plaintiffs should ultimately win their case, they will recover that money.
The judge found it unlikely, however, that AARP will eventually prevail on the merits in the case, noting that the EEOC’s regulation, which aligns with other laws (including the Affordable Care Act) is “not irrational.”
Seyfarth Shaw LLP reports that the number of lawsuits filed under Title III of the ADA continues to rise, fueled in part by prolific plaintiffs (a dozen individuals filed more than 100 lawsuits each in 2016) and controversial issues such as website accessibility.