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Employment Law

OK to discipline for leaving work ‘feeling sick’

If a worker tells her supervisor she’s having a flareup of a serious health condition and must leave, that may invoke the FMLA, the ADA or both. But a run-of-the-mill, “I feel sick and am going home” declaration isn’t protected activity.

Calling off sick doesn’t trigger FMLA rights notice

Employers are obliged to let employees know about their FMLA rights—when it’s clear they are dealing with a serious health condition. Merely calling off sick won’t cut it.

Review pension plan for age discrimination

Here’s a $5.4 million reminder that discriminating on the basis of age when administering employee benefits violates federal law.

No, you can’t order a blanket ban on certain meds

At the heart of the ADA is the rule that reasonable accommodations must be based on an individualized assessment of a disabled employee’s medical condition and the requirements of his or her job. Employers cannot make blanket determinations that disabled workers are unable to perform their jobs based on their diagnoses—or the medicines they use.

Root out all demographic hiring preferences

We all know hiring managers shouldn’t discriminate against some candidates because of protected characteristics. It’s just as unlawful for them to favor certain candidates because they belong to a particular ethnic group or nationality.

Lack of right-to-sue letters isn’t good news

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the EEOC has temporarily stopped issuing right-to-sue letters, which give employees the greenlight to file discrimination and harassment lawsuits against their employers. When business starts up again, expect a flood of discrimination and harassment litigation.

EEOC: CDC safety guidelines don’t violate ADA

Employers are free to ask employees and job applicants if they have symptoms of COVID-19, screen them for illness and make them stay home if they test positive, according to the EEOC.

#MeTooLate? Policy change won’t always stop lawsuits

When the #MeToo movement exposed pervasive sexual harassment in corporate America, the board of directors at McDonald’s implemented anti-harassment policies that went far beyond what the law requires. Too bad that wasn’t enough to prevent what could prove to be a massive harassment lawsuit.

Beware retaliation following OSHA complaint

The Occupational Safety and Health Act affords great protection to employees who report dangerous working conditions to the authorities. That has become an issue in the coronavirus era—and a potentially significant source of liability for employers who continue to operate as usual.

Don’t let assistive technology affect hiring

Warn hiring managers not to disregard an applicant because assistive technologies indicate he or she might be disabled. Those systems provide evidence of bias that can be used against you in court.