We are wrapping up our discussion of a 6th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that the majority said would bring the circuit into line with the other federal appeals courts. It will not, according to critics. The decision adds another variation to the interpretation of what lawyers refer to as causation language in the Americans with Disabilities Act.
We are continuing our discussion of a 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision. A woman claimed that her former employer fired her at least in part because her medical condition required her to use a wheelchair. A decision like that would have been a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
When the federal circuit courts of appeal disagree on the interpretation of a federal law, a couple of things can happen. At times, the U.S. Supreme Court can settle the matter by hearing a case and rendering a decision. Another possibility is that the circuits can slowly align over time, agreeing one by one that a particular interpretation makes more sense.
More and more, companies are hiring contract employees for short- and long-term projects. Contract workers can be less expensive and a little easier to manage. It is, for example, much easier to let go of a contractor than it is to discharge a full-time employee. But maintaining the line between contractor and employee can be tricky at times. The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently handed down a decision that either clarified or muddied that distinction for employers.