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The law does not guarantee a perfect workplace. Courts do not want to be super-human resource departments, potentially reviewing every slight felt by employees.
As noted in the past, federal law prohibits employment discrimination based on religion.
One given principle of the Americans With Disabilities Act provides that employee medical information obtained from “medical examinations and inquiries” must be treated as a confidential medical record. The issue is what is an inquiry?
In order to be protected under the Americans With Disabilities Act, the employee must be able to perform the essential functions of the job, with or without reasonable accommodations.
Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, a covered employer must give a qualified employee FMLA leave to care for the employee's family member(s) with a serious health condition.
In previous articles, we have discussed the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. A recent case held that under USERRA, an employer can terminate a returning veteran.
Pursuant to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), in order to be protected, the employee must be qualified to perform the duties of her job.
Retaliation claims are on the rise. They occur when a person exercises a protected right, only to then suffer an adverse employment action. Consider this case under the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA:
In our last article, we discussed age discrimination claims. Today, we will examine one key defense available to employers.
As the workforce ages, we can expect to see an increase in age discrimination claims in the workplace. A recent case shows how these claims can arise.
We have focused on the Americans With Disabilities Act over the past few articles. As previously noted, perhaps the most difficult issue for employers under the ADA relates to the extent an employer must permit an indefinite leave as a reasonable accommodation.
In our last article, we discussed whether transferring a qualified disabled employee to a vacant job position was a required reasonable accommodation under the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Reasonable accommodations are at the heart of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
We have often discussed the far-reaching impact of the Americans With Disabilities Act. A recent case highlighted one of the few restrictions on its scope.
Under the Americans With Disabilities Act, or the ADA, an employee with a disability must be able to perform the essential functions of her job, with or without accommodations. Determining a job's "essential functions" can be critical.
As we have noted in the past, perhaps the most challenging task for employers is to successfully maneuver through the relationship between the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, and the Americans With Disabilities Act, or ADA
The Family and Medical Leave Act is one of the most difficult statutes for employers to work with.
As we have noted in the past, employees can allege hostile work environment claims based on race or national origin.
Assume a female employee believes she is paid less than a male employee who performs substantially equal work under similar working conditions. Does the female have a claim against the employer?
Immigration reform has been a hotly contested issue. President Obama's recent executive order further focused attention on the status of individuals who are illegally in the United States.
Common sense would seem to suggest regular attendance is an essential function of every job. This is an important concept.
Surveys suggest a substantial percentage of employers routinely use criminal background checks when hiring new employees. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commssion has just issued new guidelines, which limit this use.
In previous articles, we have discussed the application of the discrimination laws to the workplace. These laws protect applicants for employment, as well as employees.
As we have noted in prior articles, the Americans With Disabilities Act protects qualified individuals with a disability. Under the ADA, a disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
The various discrimination statutes we frequently discuss extend to promotion decisions. This will potentially be the case when a member of a protected class is passed over for a promotion in favor of an employee who is not in a protected class.
More than ever, discrimination–based complaints are being raised in the workplace. In each instance, the key determination may focus on the conduct of either a co–worker, a supervisor, or a third party.
The federal discrimination laws, and the Equaly Employment Opportunity Commission in the enforcement of them, prohibit discrimination based on disparate treatment and disparate impact.
In employment discrimination cases, comments made by the employer's representatives often play an important role. This was true in two recent cases.
In a typical retaliation case, an employee will claim an adverse employment decision, often termination, was in retaliation for the employee having exercised a protected right.
In order to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act, or ADA, employers must carefully consider all requests for reasonable accommodations from employees with disabilities.
The largest number of discrimination claims arise when an employee is terminated. However, a claim can arise at any point in the employment relationship, including promotions. Consider these facts:
As we have previously noted, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals because of a disability or a perceived disability.
President Barack Obama's announcement that our soldiers in Iraq will return by year's end refocuses attention on the re-employment rights of employees who were called into active duty.
More and more, employers are using performance improvement plans as part of their disciplinary procedures.
Often, reported cases present two important lessons. Consider the facts of this case:
In most of our articles, we have examined discrimination directed at an employee based on who or what he or she is: race, age, disabled, national origin, etc.
A hostile work environment based on gender can be created even when the unwelcomed offensive acts are present, in a general sense, but are not addressed to a specific person. Consider these facts:
Every job has its essential, as contrasted to nonessential, functions. In the most simple of ways, a function is essential if the purpose of the job is to perform it. For example, the ability to fly a plane is an essential function of the job of being a pilot.
As we have noted in the past, employers may be held liable if they are responsible for creating or tolerating a hostile work environment.
Increasingly, employers are attempting to address drug use in the workplace. Usually, this begins with pre-employment drug testing and extends through employment by means of a drug and alcohol policy.
For employers, it is difficult to comply with just one of the employment statutes we often discuss. Just think how difficult it is when the employer must coordinate two or three statutes at the same time.
In previous articles, we have noted that claims of retaliation are increasing. Employers face great risk in these claims, especially when an adverse employment action falls close in time to an employee's exercise of a protected right.
In the 17th century French fable, The Monkey and the Cat, a monkey convinces a cat to pull chestnuts from a fire. The cat burns his paws.
To prevail on a sex discrimination claim, a female employee must demonstrate that similarly situated men, subject to the same company policy, were treated more favorably.
In order to maintain a hostile work environment claim, an employee must establish in part that she was subjected to unwelcome conduct due to her protected status (e.g., gender, race, age, etc.) and that the negative conduct was so severe or pervasive that it created a hostile environment.
There was a time when most litigation arose at intersections, when cars, and later attorneys, collided. Now, unfortunately, the workplace is the most fertile place of litigation.
A recent case highlights religious discrimination claims in the workplace. It also demonstrated how not to make an employment decision.
One fact will not change as we enter 2011: the war on terrorism will continue, and many of the sacrifices will be borne by our employees.
Placing high school and college students into the workplace is an important part of experiential learning.
The Fair Pay Act (sometimes called the Ledbetter Act) was the first piece of legislation signed by President Barack Obama. It is a discrimination statute aimed at prohibiting pay decisions from being made on a discriminatory basis (e.g., gender, age, race, national origin, etc.).
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