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Risky business: Think twice before firing ‘sickly’ worker

Never treat as disabled employees who recover from a medical emergency. Sure, some health problems cause long-term disability. But assuming someone is disabled when they’re not and taking an adverse action against them violates the ADA. The law prohibits “regarding” someone as disabled.

Explain: pregnancy accommodations temporary

If the worker takes FMLA leave, she’s entitled to return to her old job when leave is over. Without clear records that the employer means the accommodation to be temporary, she may later argue she was denied reinstatement to the last position she held.

Contracts can’t rush ADA, ADEA deadlines

Check your handbook for language that sets premature deadlines for employees to file discrimination complaints under the ADA and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Anything less than the time frames set out in the laws is unenforceable, a federal appeals court has ruled. In most cases, that is 300 days.

Offer intermittent leave as ADA accommodation

When we talk about intermittent leave, we’re usually discussing the FMLA. But intermittent leave can also be appropriate in the context of the ADA, as a reasonable accommodation of an employee’s disability.

Disability is no excuse for breaking work rules

Workplace discrimination laws don’t give a free pass to employees who violate legitimate work rules. Don’t let fear of being sued stop you from disciplining workers who deserve it.

Think twice before Googling for medical info

It is legally risky to run an internet search to find out more about job applicants, especially if you are looking for information about a medical condition. It’s too easy to find information that should play no role in the hiring process.

Never base no-hire decision on workers’ comp history

Refusing to hire a worker who has a history of workers’ compensation claims is asking for legal trouble. That could violate the workers’ comp laws in most states, and might be illegal under the ADA, too.

Beware firing employee during medical testing

Remind supervisors: Firing an employee while she is undergoing medical testing could easily trigger a lawsuit. Reason: It’s illegal to discriminate against an employee based on suspicions she might become ill or disabled in the future. That would amount to regarding her as disabled, which violates the ADA.

I can’t work in the office … and you can’t make me!

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that many employees are just as productive when they’re working from home as they are in the office. Which raises the question: Can you make employees come back to the office?

Leave & accommodation are top reasons for COVID suits

A new analysis of all COVID-based employment lawsuits found the most popular claims are related to employee leave and disability accommodations, followed by retaliation/whistleblower suits.