The Americans with Disabilities Act opened doors

July 26 marked the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a landmark law passed in 1990 that for the first time in our history created nationwide standards for combating discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, telecommunications relay services and government activities.

The Act has led to a number of significant legal decisions, which have helped to balance the rights and responsibilities of workers with disabilities and their employers. For example, the ADA requires owners of stores, restaurants and other public locations to provide access to people with disabilities — this is something we often take for granted.

As a labor and employment attorney, I often deal with cases involving the ADA. It is imperative that employers understand the law and the consequences of noncompliance.

Despite the ADA creating a benchmark for employers, it also created a strong foundation for lawmakers to build on and provide even broader protections for disabled workers. For example, President George W. Bush amended the law in 2008 and more recently, President Obama signed an executive order, requiring the federal government to hire 100,000 new employees with disabilities by 2015.

The ADA, like many other laws designed to combat discrimination, is successfully furthering the cause for equality among all people. With about 20 percent of the labor force made up of people with disabilities, everyone should take a moment to reflect on the importance of this law and be cognizant of its impact on our workforce in places of public accommodation, and how it has improved the quality of life for millions of Americans.

Michael Landen, Miami

The letter was published by the Miami Herald.

 

Hobby Lobby Ruling a Potential Slippery Slope

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued a landmark decision in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Inc. case last week, asserting that certain employers with religious objections can deny paying for contraception under the Affordable Care Act.

Michael Landen, a partner at Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine, shares his thoughts with the Daily Business Review on the ruling, and raises important questions about the full implications of the decision.

He argues the decision is a slippery slope, opening the door for “closely-held” businesses to become involved in private medical issues such as fertility, birth control procedures (such as vasectomy or tubal ligation), psychiatric care and blood transfusions. If a private employer’s religious beliefs can dictate the health care its employers receive, all kinds of health care and medical procedures, some possibly life-saving, may be at risk.

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Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine Partners Named “Super Lawyers” 2014

 A dozen of our attorneys have been selected as top legal practitioners by Super Lawyers. Outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas, who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement, are named Super Lawyers each year. Kluger Kaplan was also ranked in the “Top 100” law firms in Florida.  The selection process is competitive and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.

Kudos to the following attorneys:

Rising Stars                                                 Super Lawyers

– Jeffrey Berman                                            – Deborah Chames
Casey Cusick                                              – Abbey Kaplan
– Jorge Delgado                                             – Bruce Katzen
– Lisa Jerles                                                   – Alan Kluger
Justin Kaplan                                               – Todd Levine
– Richard Segal                                              – Steve Silverman

 

Facebook “Likes” are Protected Speech

By Steve Silverman

On September 18, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued an opinion in Bland v. Roberts which held that Facebook “likes” are in fact protected speech under the First Amendment.

In the case, Roberts, the Sheriff in Hampton, Virginia, fired several employees after they supported his opposition candidate in a 2009 election.  Roberts prevailed in his reelection and, plaintiffs claim, he fired those employees who supported his adversary.  One of the plaintiffs, Daniel Carter, Jr., claimed that he was terminated for “liking” the Facebook page of Roberts’ adversary.

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Social Media in Litigation Part II

By Steve Silverman

Last week I blogged about how social media is impacting businesses in litigation and discovery.  This week, let’s look at the issue of employees and how their social media usage can impact discovery in litigation.  The social media opportunities are seemingly endless: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram, to name the biggest players.  It is likely that most, if not all employees at a given company have an personal account with at least one or more of these services.

A variety of discoverable information may exist in an employee’s personal social media account.  For example, in a dispute over commissions, an employee’s Facebook posts and Tweets may disclose information about the employee’s whereabouts that could support (or rebut) his claims against his employer.  Or an employee may tweet, from his desk, confidential information about a company, such as a pending merger or upcoming layoffs.

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