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CATA's employment law counselors review Supreme Court decisions

November 24, 2010

Franczek Sullivan P.C., the CATA's law firm for labor and employment issues, has summarized the U.S. Supreme Court's 2001-2002 session on the firm's Web site, at

The Court's 2001-2002 session, which concluded June 30, featured an unusually high number of labor and employment decisions. The decisions spanned a wide range of areas, including employee benefits and union organizing. The Court returned to several themes from last year's landmark cases, including mandatory arbitration agreements and state immunity under the 11th Amendment. In other areas, the Court carved new paths, such as in its first decision arising under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

In a series of cases, the Court resolved several questions related to procedural aspects of litigating employment claims. Finally, to the surprise of most observers, the Court declined to render decisions in two highly anticipated cases. Ultimately, the term might be remembered in the words of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor as the "disabilities act term," because of the significance of three decisions relating to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

In the span of three cases, the Court narrowed the scope of the ADA by more specifically defining those who qualify as "disabled" under the statute, by limiting the accommodations required for disabled employees, and by permitting employers to refuse to hire disabled individuals for positions that would be a threat to their safety.