As my followers have probably figured out by now, my 2017 New Year’s resolution was to write Linkedin articles about interesting new judicial opinions on ADA & FMLA issues. All I can say is Yikes! There have been more than approximately 118 ADA/FMLA judicial decisions issued in the first 11 weeks of 2017. That is about 10 per week. And, these opinions tend to be quite long and involved with highly unique fact situations.
I am preparing to speak at the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) Annual FMLA/ADA Employer Compliance Conference in Minneapolis in May 2017. The title of my session is why so many employers won cases in 2016 – and I plan to provide an update for 2017! For the first 11 weeks of 2017, employers have won about 70% of the cases, employees have won about 22%, and another 11% were split decisions with employers winning on some claims and employees on others. Not bad for employers.
Most of these cases involve decisions at the summary judgment stage. If an employer can win at this pre-trial motion stage, it will avoid the expense and aggravation of a jury trial. If an employer loses at this stage, it still has a shot of prevailing in before a jury -- but juries are highly unpredictable and tend to be more sympathetic to employees than employers.
There are lessons to be learned from these cases. I share these lessons as often as I can in my articles (and still do my day job). I look forward to providing a more comprehensive overview in May. I hope to see you there!