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Pending California Legislation Alert! Senate Bill 937 Seeks to Require California Employers to Provide Lactation Facilities in the Workplace

If passed, California Senate Bill 937: Lactation Accommodation, will require employers to provide a lactation room, or location, in close proximity to the employee’s work space, and it must include prescribed features such as access to a sink and refrigerator. SB 937 also would deem denial of reasonable break time or adequate space to express … Continue Reading

Overtime Can Be An Essential Job Function

A recent decision from the District Court for the District of Nebraska serves as a reminder that overtime can be an essential job function. See McNeil v. Union Pac. R.R._ 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85250.  On May 21, 2018, Union Pacific Railroad Company’s (“Union Pacific”) motion for summary judgment was granted and the Court determined … Continue Reading

Medical Progress Needs to Be Assessed in Determining Whether an Individual Is Qualified.

A recently filed federal court case should serve as a reminder to employers that medical advances often make the impossible possible and, as a result, can make the unqualified qualified under ADA. Although the suit asserts a constitutional violation and not a claim under the ADA, the lesson is worth heeding by the conscientious non-governmental … Continue Reading

‘Safe Time’ Amendments to New York City Paid Sick Leave Effective May 5, 2018

Amendments to the New York City “Earned Safe and Sick Time Act” (ESTA) went into effect on May 5, 2018. Eligible employees under the ESTA will be able to use paid time off for circumstances resulting from the employee or a covered family member of the employee being the victim of family offense matters, sexual … Continue Reading

Paid Sick Leave Goes to Court

This week, in Austin, Texas, several business groups and staffing organizations sued the City of Austin to prevent its paid sick and safe leave law from going into effect on October 1, 2018.  As detailed in a previous post, the Austin ordinance requires employers to provide employees who work at least 80 hours in Austin … Continue Reading

Must an Employer Pay for Frequent FMLA Breaks?

Is it compensable time when an employee takes frequent, 15-minute breaks each hour due to the employee’s serious health condition? Today, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) answered this question in a hot-off-the-press opinion letter, verifying that FMLA-covered breaks are not compensable. In today’s opinion letter, the DOL confirmed that frequent, 15-minute breaks taken … Continue Reading

Sick Leave Entitlements on the Rise in CA? A Pending CA Bill Is Looking to Do Just That.

Just three years after the enactment of California’s paid sick leave law under the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014 (AB 1522), a new bill has been introduced seeking to increase the amount of sick leave employers must provide employees under California law. The bill, AB 2841, was introduced on February 16, 2018, by … 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 fourteenth in a series highlighting some of the more common mistakes employers can inadvertently make regarding FMLA administration. Not fully analyzing the impact of an adverse employment action taken close in time to … Continue Reading

Louisiana Court of Appeals Highlights the Need For Clear Vacation Policies

The Louisiana Court of Appeals—Fourth Circuit, recently overturned a trial court’s determination that an employee of a pest control company was not entitled to the payout of his accrued, but unused, vacation leave. Contrary to the findings of the trial court, the Court found that the terms of the policy were ambiguous and therefore, the … Continue Reading

Let the Madness Begin – March Madness that Is

March Madness begins in just a few days.  It’s that glorious time of year when college basketball teams from around the country (and their fans) are filled with hope and excitement.  Who will make it to the final four?  Who will win the championship game?  Brackets are being completed and upsets are being selected. Experts … Continue Reading

New Guidance for the New York Paid Family Leave Payroll Deduction

By: Benjamin J. Yeamans The ever-moving target that is the New York Paid Family Leave law (“PFL”) has, unsurprisingly, shifted yet again. We recently received confirmation from the New York State regulators that employers do not need to cap the weekly employee payroll deduction for PFL at .126% of the New York State Average Weekly … Continue Reading

Pending California Legislation Alert! Recently Introduced Bill Seeks to Protect Medicinal Marijuana Users from Employment Discrimination in California

Although both medicinal and now recreational consumption of marijuana have been legalized in California, this legalization did not impact an employer’s right to discipline or even terminate employees for marijuana use. That could change for medical marijuana users if a bill pending before the California legislature becomes law.… Continue Reading

A Paid Family Leave Tax Credit Calculator: Paid Leave Can Contribute to an Employer’s Bottom Line

Rarely do human resources professionals and employment lawyers contribute to an employer’s bottom line. But the new federal tax credit for employer-provided paid family and medical leave offers a unique opportunity to do just that and help reduce your company’s tax liability. The recently-enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provides a tax credit to employers … Continue Reading

The Fate of the EEOC’s Wellness Regulations is Still Uncertain

In October 2016, AARP sued the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) under the Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”) arguing that there was no explanation for the shift in the EEOC’s position relating to what makes participation in a wellness program “voluntary”.  Originally, the EEOC argued that in order for a wellness program to be “voluntary,” employers could not condition the … Continue Reading

Obesity Discrimination Claims Allowed to Proceed Under California Law

Is obesity a disability under California law? Are a supervisor’s alleged “fat remarks” sufficient evidence of disability discrimination?  On December 21, 2017, a California Appellate Court published an extensive decision regarding obesity as a disability under California law and issued further guidance on both counts. Ketryn Cornell was an obese woman (5’5”, 350 pounds) who … Continue Reading

City of Santa Monica Minimum Paid Sick Leave Accrual Limits to Increase January 1, 2018

The grace period is over. Effective January 1, 2018, the City of Santa Monica’s minimum cap on accrued sick leave for eligible employees will increase from 40 to 72 hours for businesses with 26 or more employees. The accrual-cap for businesses with 25 or fewer employees will increase from 32 to 40 hours. Santa Monica’s … 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 tenth in a series highlighting some of the more common mistakes employers can inadvertently make regarding FMLA administration. Not properly considering treatment for substance abuse as FMLA-qualifying. Substance abuse is a workplace issue … Continue Reading

Employers Should Engage In the Interactive Process Even If They Believe the Employee Is Not Qualified.

Diligent and well informed employers know that it is the best practice to engage in an individualized assessment of a requested accommodation. Sometimes an employer may be tempted to refuse to discuss an accommodation because it doesn’t believe that the request is reasonable or because the employee is not “qualified.” It should resist the temptation. … Continue Reading

Will Employers Be Forced to Accommodate Employees Who Test Positive for Marijuana?

On July 17, 2017 the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that under the Massachusetts Anti-Discrimination law an employer may be required to accommodate an employee who is a current user of medical marijuana regardless of the employer’s drug free workplace and drug testing policies.  While this decision is binding only in Massachusetts, it could represent … Continue Reading

Nurse’s Disability Discrimination Claims May Proceed to Trial, New Jersey Supreme Court Rules

A registered nurse employed by a New Jersey health care system for approximately 10 years may proceed to a jury trial with her disability and perceived disability claims under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, the Supreme Court of New Jersey has ruled. Grande v. Saint Clare’s Health Sys., 2017 N.J. LEXIS 746 (July 12, … Continue Reading

San Francisco Passes “Lactation in the Workplace Ordinance”

On June 30, 2017, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee signed the “Lactation in the Workplace Ordinance” (“Ordinance”), increasing protections for nursing mothers working in San Francisco. The Ordinance becomes effective January 1, 2018, and applies to anyone employed within the “geographic boundaries” of San Francisco.… Continue Reading

Asking Enough But Not Too Much: Medical Certifications for Leaves of Absence Under the FMLA and CFRA

The FMLA and CFRA both permit an employer to require an employee requesting a leave of absence to provide a medical certification, but these laws differ with respect to the information and employer can request about the reasons for an employee’s requested leave. Under the FMLA, an employer is permitted to obtain the following information … 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
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