Disability, Leave & Health Management Blog

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Latest from Disability, Leave & Health Management Blog

“What did I do wrong?” and “Am I doing this correctly?” are frequent questions from clients regarding FMLA administration.  This is the 26th blog in in this series, which digs into the FMLA regulations and related issues to address discrete mis-steps that can result in legal liability. Increasing legal risk by making stray comments while investigating potential FMLA leave abuse. While employers may not discourage legitimate FMLA use, employers can (and should) investigate suspected employee…
After an initial delay, payroll and wage withholdings to fund the Massachusetts paid family and medical leave program are set to begin on October 1. The Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFMLA) established a fund that will allow employees in the Commonwealth to begin taking paid leave in 2021 for their own serious health condition or to care for a family member with a serious health condition. Employers will contribute to the state…
New Maryland laws governing the workplace will take effect on October 1, 2019. These laws: Amend the state’s Fair Employment Practices Act (FEPA) with respect to harassment claims and with respect to the definition of “employee”; Require unpaid leave and provide additional protections for employees serving as organ or bone marrow donors; Promote gender diversity in the boardroom; Provide additional civil penalties with respect to Equal Pay violations; and Prohibit non-compete agreements for low-wage earners.…
This certainly sounds futuristic. (Pun intended.) Still, in a case just decided by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, EEOC v. STME, LLC, the EEOC espoused precisely this position. The EEOC sued STME for disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act on behalf of Kimberly Lowe, a former STME massage therapist. Lowe was not disabled. However, STME terminated Lowe in 2014 because she traveled to Ghana against her employer’s wishes. The company’s owner…
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) did not fail to accommodate a disabled lawyer by rejecting her request to work from home and offering alternative accommodations instead, the Seventh Circuit ruled in Yochim v. Carson, No. 18-3670 (7th Cir. Aug. 15, 2019).  Affirming summary judgment, the Court held that the employee’s telework request was unreasonable on its face. Background Yochim worked as a lawyer for HUD for over two decades.  Throughout the…
On September 10, 2019, the Department of Labor issued an FMLA opinion letter stating that an employer may not delay designating paid leave as FMLA leave if the delay complies with a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and the employee prefers that the designation be delayed. The CBAs in question provided employees with job protected paid leave for certain family and medical reasons that could also be covered under the FMLA.  Employees could elect (or in…
2019 has brought a flurry of new leave and accommodation laws.  In fact, in the first 8 months of 2019, more than 20 new laws in this area have passed. The states (and US territory) that passed new laws, expanded or otherwise amended existing leave and accommodation laws, or had new laws go into effect this year include: California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Kentucky, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico,…
On August 20, 2019, the Ninth Circuit dodged answering the question of whether morbid obesity is a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In Valtierra v. Medtronic Inc., No. 17-15282, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the District Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant, but came short of joining the Second, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Circuits in explicitly holding that obesity cannot constitute a disability under applicable EEOC regulations…
New York has amended its Human Rights Law to expand protection from employment discrimination for victims of domestic violence. Signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on August 20, 2019, the new law amends the New York State Human Rights Law with respect to victims of domestic violence. It also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations. The new law will become effective on November 18, 2019. Click here to read more.…