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Employment Law

ADA: Consider hybrid work as possible reasonable accommodation

Under the ADA, disabled workers may be entitled to modified work schedules if it will allow them to perform the essential functions of their jobs. However, most courts recognize that in-person work can be an essential job function. But then there’s hybrid work in which employees sometimes report to their employers’ premises and sometimes work from home. Can hybrid work be a reasonable accommodation for a disabled worker?

Is working a 16-hour shift an essential function? Maybe

The ADA requires employers to make reasonable accommodations so disabled employees can perform the essential functions of their jobs. Generally, employers get to determine which functions are essential and which are not. Courts tend to defer to an employer’s assessment of what’s essential and what is not when determining whether a reasonable accommodation is possible. However, it’s not a slam-dunk that they will.

What the big UPS–Teamsters Union contract means for employers

United Parcel Service and the Teamsters Union, which represents more than 340,000 UPS employees, have tentatively agreed to a new union contract that—if approved by rank-and-file workers—will avert a strike that threatened to shut down the U.S. supply chain just as retailers are gearing up for busy back-to-school and holiday seasons.

EEOC releases guidance on accommodating employees with visual disabilities

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 18.4% of all U.S. adults are blind or have “some” or “a lot” of difficulty seeing, even when wearing corrective lenses.

How to protect against the coming explosion of anti-DEI lawsuits

When the U.S. Supreme Court in June struck down Harvard University’s affirmative action admissions plan, it wrote that “[e]liminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it.” Now employers with diversity, equity and inclusion programs worry that their efforts to achieve a diverse workplace will come under attack, too.

Ask these questions when challenging employee requests for religious accommodations

According to the Supreme Court, employers can’t justify turning down a request for a religious reasonable accommodation because of its impact on morale for co-workers who may have to pick up weekend or holiday shifts so their religious colleague can have the time off. However, nothing in the recent Groff v. DeJoy decision says employers can’t challenge up front whether an employee is eligible for religious accommodations.

Monitoring: Beware fixating on productivity

Are supervisors asking to install tracking software on their remote employees’ computers and devices? They may be suffering from what Microsoft has termed “productivity paranoia.”

A matter of morals … or discrimination? Expect more cases claiming ‘expressive association’

The Supreme Court ruled in June that a Colorado web designer could decline to develop sites celebrating same-sex weddings based on her First Amendment expressive freedom of association. Now a different employer—a Catholic school—is trying to argue it has the right to “expressive association” in the employment context, able to reject applicants or fire employees who don’t live up to its views on moral behavior.

EEOC finding novel ways to drive industry change

Not content just to punish discrimination, the EEOC is seeking ways to increase employment opportunities for members of protected classes.

Sink retaliation claims by engaging an outsider to investigate bias complaints

Using an outside entity to investigate internal discrimination or harassment complaints helps prevent retaliation lawsuits. That’s because there’s no reason for an outside investigator to take sides in the outcome.