Client Alert
August, 2019
Is Obesity a Disability?
Contact Attorney Walter Liszka in our Chicago office at (312) 629-9300 or by email
By: Walter J. Liszka, Esq.
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in a recent decision (June 12, 2019) in the case of Richardson v. Chicago Transit Authority has joined the Second, Sixth and Eighth Circuit in finding that Obesity, standing alone, is not an impairment under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) absent an underlying psychological cause. This is an extremely important decision based on the fact that it is estimated that forty (40) percent of the current adult population is dealing with obesity.

Mark Richardson, a 596 pound bus driver was sent for a safety assessment after returning from a lengthy medical leave. He was required to undergo that safety assessment predicated on the fact of his weight and that bus driver seats were designed to hold only up to 400 pounds. During the assessment, he was unable to do hand-over-hand steering; he cross pedaled (i.e., kept his foot on both the brake and the accelerator at the same time) and his leg pressed against the lever that opened the rear door. The CTA concluded that all of these safety issues were due to his physical size and therefore he was unable to keep his position.

Independent Contractor Surgeon Cannot Sue Hospital for Discrimination Under Title VII
By Nancy E. Joerg, Esq.
If an individual is found to be an independent contractor under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, that individual cannot sue for discrimination under that law because they are not an employee. Only employees can claim legal protection under Title VII. A surgeon recently discovered this legal reality when she sued the hospital for discrimination. She sued because the hospital revoked her medical practice privileges. She claimed to be an employee (and not an independent contractor), and therefore sued the hospital as her employer under Title VII on the basis of her sex, religion and ethnicity.

U.S. DISTRICT COURT RULED THE SURGEON WAS AN INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR: The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted summary judgement in favor of the hospital because that Court found the surgeon was an independent contractor physician-not an employee of the hospital.

SURGEON APPEALED TO U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT: The surgeon then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The surgeon argued that she should be classified as an employee of the hospital (and therefore she was entitled to have legal protection under Title VII).

Contact Attorney Nancy Joerg in our St. Charles, Illinois office at (630) 377-1554 or by email
So You Have A Whistleblower
By Walter J. Liszka, Esq.
Initially, the news that any individual in your company has filed an Internal Report detailing potential illegal, inappropriate or unethical behavior may seem like a terrible development and it is natural to feel shocked or concerned when such an event occurs but it is better than keeping it in the dark. Simply stated, if a "whistleblower" brings up a real problem, you may want to deal with it and get it resolved before the issue can affect the business' viability. In point of fact, a recent report in Harvard Business Review written by researchers Stephen Stubben of the University of Utah and Kyle Welch of the George Washington University found that internal whistleblowing is really a sign of a company's good health.

Contact Attorney Walter Liszka in our Chicago office at (312) 629-9300 or by email
Wessels Sherman Sponsorship
Another year of sponsorship at the Ace Hardware golfing event to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network. A beautiful day in a beautiful valley near La Crescent, MN.

Join Wessels Sherman attorneys Dick Wessels, Nancy Joerg, Joe Laverty and Tony Caruso for a special breakfast seminar at the historic Dunham Woods Riding Club in Wayne, Illinois. Attendees will be delighted by the charming rooms, magnificent art work and antique furnishings. Enjoy gorgeous views of the rolling countryside. Exciting raffle prizes too!

When: Wednesday, October 23, 2019 from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Where: Dunham Woods Riding Club, Wayne, Illinois
Cost: Only $100 which includes a delicious continental breakfast and many valuable handouts
Contact: For more information, contact Tammy Nelson at (630) 377-1554
Connect with Wessels Sherman 
Upcoming Seminars, Webinars and Teleseminars
Thursday, September 12, 2019, 2-3 pm
Cost: $100

Wednesday, October 23, 2019, 8 am - Noon
Cost: $100

Thursday, November 7, 2019, 2-3 pm
Cost: $100
The attorneys of Wessels Sherman have the superior experience, knowledge and leadership to aggressively represent your business nationwide, including St. Charles, Chicago and Cook County, Illinois; Oconomowoc, Wisconsin; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Davenport, Iowa and the entire Quad Cities area.  

CLIENT ALERT Editor-in-Chief........Walter J. Liszka
Minnesota.........................................James B. Sherman
Wisconsin.........................................Alan E. Seneczko
Iowa.................................................Joseph H. Laverty
Illinois...............................................Nancy E. Joerg  
The Client Alert is a complimentary newsletter published periodically for clients and friends of Wessels Sherman. We reserve the right to limit distribution of our materials to representatives of management. The materials in this newsletter have been abridged from a variety of sources and are not necessarily applicable to a particular situation. The contents of this mailing should not be construed as legal advice. State laws vary. Readers should consult with legal counsel before taking any action on matters covered by this mailing.