A recent bill that passed in the United States House of Representatives, in February 2018, could weaken certain provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and make it more difficult to sue based on disability discrimination. It is yet to be determined how this would affect employment lawsuits.
The bill provides a cushion for small business owners who are sued under the ADA to prevent what representatives in Congress said were drive-by lawsuits. This occurs when members of the public may sue for not being able to access the business because of their disability. A recent television segment on 60 Minutes addressed this issue and reported on lawyers suing businesses based on surveying the outside or using Google Earth maps to allege that the business was inaccessible for their clients.
The proposed bill would require any lawsuit that federal court based on failure to provide a public accommodation, because of a type of barrier, would not proceed until after the business owner provides information on how they plan to address the alleged violation. This should happen within a 60-day period. The owner then has another 60 days to remedy the situation before the plaintiff can proceed with the lawsuit.
It is unclear how this new bill would affect employment-related lawsuits since plaintiffs who sue under the employment context of the ADA must first obtain a right to sue letter from the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before any lawsuit can proceed. When a person files a complaint with the EEOC, they may request a right to sue letter at the time of the filing. It is at the discretion of the EEOC whether to provide the right to sue letter immediately, or they can begin investigating the claim for up to 180 days.
Therefore, if the claim is investigated by the EEOC and then the person decides to sue, it seems there would be no need to then provide the business owner an additional 120 days to remedy an accessibility issue. The EEOC charges can be brought by employees or people who sought to become employees but allege that their application for work was rejected based on a protected class, such as having a disability.
South Jersey Employment Discrimination Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Advocate for Disabled Employees
Discrimination based on a disability can happen to anyone. If you have experienced discrimination in the workplace because of your disability, contact the South Jersey employment discrimination lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. at 215-569-1999 or contact us online for a free case evaluation. We serve the entire Philadelphia, Pennsylvania region and the state of New Jersey.