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Changes to ERISA’s Disability Claims Regulations Coming April 1

Employers who offer short-term and long-term disability plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and their plan administrators, need to prepare for the approaching April 1st deadline of the new claims handling regulations.  Employer action items can be found in our article posted here. The ERISA regulations were effective January 2017, but were delayed until … Continue Reading

What Am I Doing Wrong?? Common FMLA Mistakes

“What did I do wrong?” and “Am I doing this correctly?” are frequent questions from clients regarding FMLA administration.  This is the twelfth in a series highlighting some of the more common mistakes employers can inadvertently make regarding FMLA administration. Not adequately investigating a potential FMLA abuse situation to put the employer in a stronger … Continue Reading

New California Disability and Leave Laws – Are You Ready for 2018?

With the turn of the year comes a wave of new California disability and leave laws.  Employers should review their existing policies and procedures to determine if they will be in compliance with these new laws—many of which will go into effect on January 1: Parental Leave:  California will expand parental leave to small employers.  … Continue Reading

Extending Leave Was Not A Reasonable Accommodation Under The ADA Where There Was A Lack Of “Certainty” About Return To Work Date

While employers generally accept that they cannot apply a maximum leave period after which employees are automatically terminated, they continue to struggle with how much leave must be provided as a form of accommodation under the ADA.  There is little dispute that leave for an indefinite period where the employee has a long term chronic … Continue Reading

Prior Entitlement to FMLA Leave Is Not A Free Ticket To Miss Work For Non-FMLA Covered Reasons

The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania recently upheld an employer’s decision to terminate an employee under its policy against excessive absenteeism, in spite of the fact that the former employee had previously taken leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), because the absences at issue were not related to … Continue Reading

What Am I Doing Wrong?? Common FMLA Mistakes

“What did I do wrong?” and “Am I doing this correctly?” are frequent questions from clients regarding FMLA administration. This is the eleventh in a series highlighting some of the more common mistakes employers can inadvertently make regarding FMLA administration. Not properly considering when a medical recertification can, and should, be requested when an employee … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Holds that the ADA Is Still Not a Leave Statute

On October 17, 2017, on the heels of its landmark decision in Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, the Seventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of the employer in its unpublished opinion in Golden v. Indianapolis Housing Agency, No. 17-1359 (7th Cir. Oct. 17, 2017), reiterating that “[a]n employee who needs long-term medical leave…is not a ‘qualified … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Clarifies ADA is Not a Leave Statute

On September 20, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued a significant opinion for employers in Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc., No. 15-3754 (7th Cir. Sept. 20, 2017), holding that “[t]he ADA is an antidiscrimination statute, not a medical-leave entitlement.”  The Seventh Circuit joins the Tenth Circuit in rejecting the EEOC’s … Continue Reading

Governor Brown Has Another Opportunity to Expand Parental Leave to Small Businesses in California

The New Parent Leave Act has made it to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk awaiting his signature or veto. This bill would mean significant expansion of parental leave for small employers in California. It is uncertain whether Governor Brown will sign the bill into law after vetoing a similar bill almost a year ago.… Continue Reading

Employer’s Enforcement of Its Call-In Policy Was Reasonable Vis-à-Vis a Disabled Employee

Employers frequently struggle with enforcement of call-in and job abandonment policies when there has been a lack of communication by a disabled employee. In Alejandro v. ST Micro Electronics (N.D. Cal.) 178 F.Supp.3d 850, the court offers a favorable ruling for employers seeking to enforce such a policy respective to a disabled employee who had … Continue Reading

What Should I Tell Employees on Leave About Their FMLA Usage? Everything!

When it comes to FMLA leave administration, “don’t sweat the details” is rarely a wise axiom.  Details matter.  A lot.  A recent decision by an Illinois federal court reinforces that lesson.  In March 2015, Amanda Dusik contacted her employer, Lutheran Child and Family Services (LCFS), to request time off for knee surgery.  She explained that, … Continue Reading

Are You Coming In Today? An FMLA Intermittent Leave Toolkit

            Intermittent leave continues to present some of the most exasperating FMLA issues. In March, the San Diego-based Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) issued a white paper showing the findings of its annual 2016 Employer Leave Management Survey, which involved 1,132 U.S. employers of all sizes. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), … Continue Reading

Fear of Failure – Terminating Employees with Extensive FMLA and non-FMLA Absences

It’s a scenario that frustrates many employers.  An employee with extensive intermittent FMLA absences, possibly including absences for different covered reasons, is also absent for many unspecified or unprotected reasons which lead to progressive discipline.  The employee’s absences eventually reach the point of warranting termination and the employee does not provide additional medical information to … Continue Reading

DC Mayor Declines to Veto DC’s Paid Family Leave Bill

Back in December 2016, we wrote an article discussing the passage of the District of Columbia Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016 (“the Act”) by a 9 to 4 DC City Council vote on December 20th.  We explained that the next step was for the Act to be presented to Mayor Muriel Bowser. At … Continue Reading

Breaks and Flexible Hours Not a Reasonable ADA Accommodation for Frequently Absent Employee, Court Holds

Employers can easily feel overwhelmed when it comes to enforcing employee attendance standards while providing reasonable accommodation to employees with chronic health conditions. Increasingly, however, court decisions such as Williams v. AT&T Mobility Services LLC are providing much-needed guidance regarding the scope of an employer’s duty to accommodate. The Williams case illustrates how carefully-designed policies, frequent communication, … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Says “Last Call” for Employee Terminated After Caught Drinking While on FMLA “Bed Rest”

On January 31, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit joined the Seventh, Eighth and Tenth Circuits in holding that an employer’s honest belief that its employee was misusing FMLA leave is enough to defeat an FMLA retaliation claim. The court’s opinion in Capps v. Mondelez Global, LLC also serves as … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Nominee Has Put “Reasonable” into Reasonable Accommodation Obligations

In case your news and twitter accounts are down, and you otherwise have not heard the news…   President Trump has nominated Judge Gorsuch from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s vacant Supreme Court seat.  There are surely countless articles about his nomination hitting the airwaves even as … Continue Reading

Disability and Leave Law Under President Trump: What’s Next?

Since Election Day, prognosticators and pundits have been speculating about how the Trump Administration’s actions will impact existing laws and regulations. Now that President Trump and his team have hit the ground running, what can we expect from the Department of Labor (including OFCCP), the EEOC and the President’s own executive actions in the areas … Continue Reading

A Cautionary Tale: How Sudden Changes to Intermittent FMLA Can Cost You

A January 9 decision by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals serves as a vivid reminder that employers must tread with great caution when managing intermittent leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. As the ruling in Wink v. Miller Compressing Company highlights, making abrupt changes in leave accommodations or providing misinformation about leave … Continue Reading
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