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Jody Kahn Mason is a Principal in the Chicago, Illinois, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. and is a contributor to the Disability, Leave & Health Management Blog. She is an experienced employment law litigator and defends employers before federal and state courts and administrative agencies throughout the Midwest.  She also regularly provides advice and counsel to clients regarding challenges relating to the implementation of the ADA, FMLA, and similar state and local laws.

Learn more about Ms. Mason on the Jackson Lewis website.

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 a reminder to employers that an employee’s request for intermittent FMLA leave may also trigger the employer’s obligation to engage in the interactive process with the employee under the ADA.
Continue Reading Third Circuit Says “Last Call” for Employee Terminated After Caught Drinking While on FMLA “Bed Rest”

The Village of Rosemont and the City of Oak Forest have become the latest suburban Cook County municipalities to join the Village of Barrington in opting out of the Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance.  (They both passed ordinances either superseding or opting out of the Cook County Minimum Wage Ordinance.)  In rejecting the Cook County Ordinances, local officials claimed that the requirements put an increased burden on local businesses and negatively impacted their ability to compete with businesses outside of Cook County.  Stay tuned for further updates regarding whether additional suburban municipalities will follow suit (we expect Palatine may be the next municipality to opt-out) or if the County will pursue legal action regarding the enforceability of the municipal ordinances. 
Continue Reading The Saga Continues: Recent Opt-Outs and Other Developments Relating to the Cook County Earned Sick Leave Act, Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act

On December 22, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued an opinion in the case of Oehmke v. Medtronic, Inc., Case No. 16-1052, affirming the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant/employer on plaintiff’s claims of disability discrimination and retaliation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA).  In its opinion, the Eighth Circuit analyzed the plaintiff’s disability discrimination claim under a mixed-motive causation standard, meaning that the Court would allow the plaintiff’s claim to proceed if it found evidence that the adverse employment action was motivated by both permissible and impermissible factors.  In other words, under a mixed-motive analysis, if a discriminatory intent contributed in any way to the adverse employment action, a plaintiff can establish the causation element of a claim for disability discrimination.  
Continue Reading Eighth Circuit Leaves Open the Question of Whether a “Mixed-Motive” or “But-For” Causation Standard Should be Applied to Disability Discrimination Claims Under the ADA

In a November already riddled with surprises and filled with looming uncertainty for employers – from the preliminary injunction blocking the DOL from enforcing the new federal overtime regulations, to the possible dramatic impact of the new Trump Administration on workplace law – on November 15, 2016, the Village of Barrington, Illinois, passed a Municipal Ordinance (the “Village Ordinance”) opting out of the requirements of the Cook County Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (the “Cook County Ordinance”), which was passed by the Cook County Board of Commissioners on October 5, 2016.  The Cook County Ordinance mandates that all employers in Cook County, Illinois, allow eligible employees to accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave in each 12-month period of their employment.
Continue Reading Municipal Ordinance Passed by the Village of Barrington, Illinois Opting Out of the Cook County Paid Sick Leave Ordinance Creates More Uncertainty for Cook County Employers

Although the EEOC rarely files suit seeking to redress violations of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (“GINA”), on October 31, 2016, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York entered a three year consent decree against a New York home health agency in a class action brought by the EEOC which alleged violations of Title II of the Act.  In Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. BNV Home Care Agency, Inc., Case No. 14-cv-5441 (E.D.N.Y. Oct. 31, 2016), the EEOC alleged that the defendant, a home health agency, maintained a policy of unlawfully requesting genetic information from a class of applicants and employees.  The EEOC alleged that the home health agency violated GINA when it asked applicants and employees to provide family medical history on the company’s “Employee Health Assessment” form.  Specifically, applicants and employees, including home health aides, were asked to identify whether they or any family members had experienced any of a list of 29 medical conditions including diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, mental illness, epilepsy or cancer.  The company claimed that it requested the information from applicants and employees for the protection of its patients.

Although the Court did not rule on the merits of the case, it approved a three year consent decree entered into between the EEOC and the home health agency which mandated injunctive relief, training, posting and distribution of notice regarding resolution of the lawsuit, ongoing reporting and compliance obligations, and the payment of $125,000 to a class of affected applicants and employees. 
Continue Reading Court Approves Three Year Consent Decree in Case Brought by the EEOC for Alleged Violations of GINA

Cook County, Illinois, has become the most recent jurisdiction to mandate that employers provide paid sick leave benefits for eligible employees.  Beginning July 1, 2017, Cook County employers must allow eligible employees to accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year.  The Cook County “Earned Sick Leave” Ordinance was passed on October

The loss of a child is never easy.  Effective July 29, 2016, Illinois employers with 50 or more employees must provide eligible employees with up to 10 days of unpaid child bereavement leave following the death of a child.  The Illinois Child Bereavement Leave Act supplements the leave options available under the federal Family and