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EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Civility & conduct rules, marijuana, and website access & ADA on the HR radar

By Mike O’Brien Get ready to take a new look at your employee handbook. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is widely expected to issue a decision soon that will mean increased scrutiny of common types of workplace rules, including civility and conduct rules. In a case pending before the Board, its General Counsel submitted a brief last month urging a return to an Obama-era standard for assessing the lawfulness of employer rules. A quick primer may be helpful. The NLRB is the federal agency charged with enforcing the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Section 7 of the Act gives employees the right to discuss pay and other terms and conditions of employment, and to engage in concerted activity to improve them. A common misunderstanding is a notion that the… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW

EEOC updates guidance related to COVID-19 and ADA

By Mike O’Brien The EEOC recently released updated guidance on the intersection between COVID-19 and major federal employment laws. In particular, the agency explained that COVID-19 may be considered an ADA-protected disability in certain cases. While mild or asymptomatic cases of the illness do not constitute an ADA-protected disability, other more severe cases, including “long COVID” presentations, may be a disability and thereby trigger the accommodation, non-discrimination, and non-retaliation components of that statute. Additionally, the EEOC’s guidance addressed employers’ obligations to provide religious exemptions for vaccination and masking requirements under Title VII. Employers must provide exemptions to employees with sincerely held religious beliefs. NLRB signals possible reversal of Trump era board decisions There’s a lot going on at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the federal agency charged with enforcing… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

“Long COVID” looms ahead as leading ADA claim

By Mike O’Brien Legal commentators are already predicting that the condition now known as “long COVID” may displace back conditions as the leading impairment asserted in charges brought under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). CNN recently reported, “A large study has revealed that one in three Covid-19 survivors have suffered symptoms three to six months after getting infected, with breathing problems, abdominal symptoms such as abdominal pain, change of bowel habit and diarrhea, fatigue, pain, anxiety, and depression among the most common issues reported.” To date, COVID-19 has infected some 43 million Americans. The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) already has opined here that “long COVID can be a disability under” the ADA. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) agrees, citing the HHS paper. Guidance issued for federal contractor vaccine mandate… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Disability discrimination and lookism in the workplace

By Mike O’Brien EEOC sues a work placement agency on behalf of disabled workers for disability discrimination The EEOC announced this week that it has filed suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) against a Hawaii work placement agency for disabled workers. The suit alleges that the agency refused to provide sign language interpreters for deaf employees, despite repeated requests by several deaf individuals. The workers had asked for interpreters to be present at staff meetings where matters such as work safety, protocols, and assignments were discussed. Despite these requests for accommodation, the agency declined to provide interpreters and instead gave the deaf workers written notes and handouts, or asked a deaf employee to interpret for other deaf employees. The EEOC asserts that these accommodations were ineffective and that as a… . . . read more

Employment Law Update

COVID-19, discrimination, DACA, and immigration developments

By Mike O’Brien bio EEOC says no to COVID-19 antibody testing: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently (6/17/20) updated its COVID-19 guidance to indicate that employers should not be requiring employees to submit to antibody testing. Here is the verbatim Q&A (found at EEOC Guidance): Question: (A.7.): CDC said in its Interim Guidelines that antibody test results “should not be used to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace.” In light of this CDC guidance, under the ADA may an employer require antibody testing before permitting employees to re-enter the workplace? Answer: No. An antibody test constitutes a medical examination under the ADA. In light of CDC’s Interim Guidelines that antibody test results “should not be used to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace,” an antibody test at this time… . . . read more

MENTAL HEALTH

How to create a good mental health work environment for employees

Most people are aware that employees with a physical illness or disability are entitled to a reasonable accommodation under…


. . . read more

BLOG

Here’s my latest Employment Law update prepared for many HR professionals

By Mike O’Brien  bio
Lots of ADA Facility Lawsuits in Utah: Here is an interesting legal news update from my partner Mike Judd: Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires places of…


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