- Written by Carl Larson
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jams and juices will fill the shelves as fresh fruit and vegetables rot in the fields.
April 2, 2016 – A coalition of farmers led by California Farm Labor Contractor Fresh Harvest, Inc. is suing the U.S. Department of Labor and Department of Homeland Security in an attempt to get the agency to stop delaying the approval of agricultural worker visas and prevent the largest agricultural labor shortage in generations. The coalition seeks to force the government agency to comply with the mandatory timelines set forth in the H-2A visa program. If the government agency fails to act quickly to approve the farmer’s requests for skilled agricultural workers under the program, massive portions of the fresh fruit crop may rot on the vines, threatening an important part of the nation’s food supply.
Harvesting the fruit too late means most of the crop ends up as jams or juice which will mean much higher prices for consumers seeking fresh fruit. It also means huge losses for growers and farmworkers as overripe fruit fetches a much lower price on the market and much lower incentive payments for workers. Rotting fruit also does lasting damage to future yields as plants become more susceptible to disease, mold, and vermin which inhibit future production.
What Do You Do With A Drunken Sailor? Accommodate Them! The ADA Requires Reasonable Accommodation of Alcoholism
- Written by Carl Larson
While most employers understand that there is no need to accommodate current illegal drug use, many do not realize that they are, in fact, required to accommodate alcoholism. The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) treats alcoholism as a disability, and therefore employers may not take adverse action against that employee simply by virtue of being an alcoholic. While an employer can still enforce its performance and attendance standards and discipline the employee if their conduct is unacceptable, employers should be particularly sensitive to requests for accommodation. The employer may also have a duty to engage in the interactive process if they suspect that an employee may have a problem with alcoholism.
Accommodation does not mean that if an employee shows up to work three sheets to the wind the employer cannot send the employee home. Allowing an employee to operate a vehicle or heavy equipment while under the influence of alcohol could obviously subject the employer to huge liability. In Renaud v. Wyoming Department of Family Services, the Court noted that alcoholism (as a disability) can be distinguished from “alcoholism-related misconduct.” In that case, a school superintendent was lawfully terminated for coming to work drunk. However, the interaction between health and safety requirements and the ADA is nuanced and complicated. For example, employers can enforce Federal safety standards without having to prove that the standard is job-related and consistent with business necessity. On the other hand, if a state or local safety law conflicts with the ADA, an employer will not be able to rely on that law as a defense to a charge of discrimination. This interplay between the law is a complicated and fact-intensive inquiry that is often difficult even for trained attorneys.