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Jonathan Hyman

‘I’m having health problems’: 7 steps for handling the interactive conversation


When faced with an employee who may have a physical or mental disability, a manager’s legal antenna should go up right away. The ADA requires employers to engage in an interactive dialog with employees to determine whether a disability can be accommodated. Do it wrong, and you’re probably looking at a lawsuit. Here’s how to handle the conversation.

One more reason not to seek staff’s Facebook content


There has been a lot of ink spilled out on the practice of employers requiring employees to provide access to their private social media accounts. Employers should avoid this practice because it erodes the trust necessary to build a workable employer/employee relationship. A recent case provides another reason why it’s a bad idea.

Caregiver leave: Was this firing disability discrimination?

A refusal to grant time off as an accommodation for the disability of an employee’s family member will only pass muster for employers too small to be covered by the FMLA or employees who did not work long enough to be eligible for FMLA leave.

NLRB continues its attack on neutral employment policies

The NLRB has continued its assault on garden-variety em­­ploy­­ment policies, issuing three decisions in recent weeks, each of which concluded that facially neutral employment policies violated employees’ rights to engage in protected concerted activity.

6th Circuit weighs in: What makes a bias complaint protected?

Employees who complain about alleged discrimination are protected from punishment under the so-called opposition clause of Title VII. Not every vague allegation, however, amounts to opposition.

Co-worker complaints not enough to establish accommodation hardship

Title VII requires an employer to reasonably accommodate an employee whose sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance conflicts with a work requirement, unless doing so would pose an undue hardship. If you are planning to reject an employee’s request for a shift change as a religious accommodation, you must be able to support the claim of hardship with facts.

Did the 6th Circuit just approve a claim for benign discrimination?

In Litton v. Talawanda School Dis­­trict, a demoted and transferred custodian sued his employer for age and race discrimination. In Litton, did the 6th Circuit unwittingly create a cause of action for benign discrimination? Or, is this case an aberration that future courts will distinguish and disregard?

Reverse discrimination and transfers as ADA accommodations


Earlier this year, the EEOC published Veterans and the Ameri­­cans with Disabilities Act (ADA): A Guide for Employers. In the guide, the EEOC asks the following question: May a private employer give preference in hiring to a veteran with a disability over other applicants?

Disability discrimination law in Ohio a mess that needs cleaning up

It is illegal in Ohio for an employer to discriminate because of the em­­­ployee’s disability. But it’s not always easy to figure out who this proscription covers, because Ohio’s statute and the federal ADA have their own respective definitions of “disability,” which vary slightly.

Required lactation breaks: How employers should comply

The Affordable Care Act health care reform law requires employers to provide space for ­mothers to lactate. According to the latest available statistics, the DOL has cited a whopping 23 companies for failing to comply. What do the statistics mean? Either the lactation mandate is not yet widely known, but complaints (and citations) will rise as public knowledge catches up with the law’s requirements; or the lack of lactation space in American workplaces is a myth that never needed a legislative solution.