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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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13 Oct 2017 Attention Illinois Employers: 3 Handbook Policies to Revisit Now

  If you haven’t reviewed your attendance, sick leave, or pregnancy-related policies in a while, the time is right to ensure you stay up to date and prevent potential pitfalls.   Parental leave and pregnancy accommodation policies may need updates   Recent lawsuits, such as the one that the EEOC filed against Estee Lauder, claim companies’ parental leave policies violate sex discrimination laws if they provide male employees with less bonding leave upon the birth of a child than female employees receive. This serves as…

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26 Sep 2017 Seventh Circuit Declares ‘The ADA is an Antidiscrimination Statute, Not a Medical Leave Entitlement’

  On September 20, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit clarified a question that many employers struggle with: Is an employee entitled to additional long-term leave under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) after Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave expires? According to the Seventh Circuit, that answer is no when the leave requested spans multiple months.   In Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc., Raymond Severson took a 12-week medical leave under the FMLA to deal with serious back pain. On…

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24 May 2017 Trump’s Proposed Paid Family Leave

  In his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018, President Donald Trump allocated $20 billion to establish a “Federal-state paid parental leave program” within the unemployment insurance program. The paid family leave program would provide six weeks of paid leave benefits for mothers, fathers and adoptive parents. The program would begin in 2020.   Exact details on how this program would be run, however, were not provided in the proposed budget. However, the budget plan explained that states would have “broad latitude” in designing and…

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28 Apr 2017 Can Employers Terminate an Employee Because of Vacation Photos Posted to Facebook?

  It is no secret that employers can and will make employment decisions based on employee social media postings—but will those employment decisions hold up in court? In a recent case, Jones v. Gulf Coast Health Care of Delaware, the Eleventh Circuit held that an employee could proceed on a claim for retaliation under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) following his termination for posting vacation photos to his Facebook.   Rodney Jones worked at Accentia Health and Rehabilitation Center of Tampa Bay. Mr….

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31 Mar 2017 Paid Leave American-Style: “I Get Mine, But You Can’t Have Yours!”

  Employers are all too familiar with the FMLA, but paid leave seems to be generating a lot of political buzz these days. A new Pew Research Center Survey reveals that a paid leave law might be a popular measure. However, the same survey also reveals that most Americans are cynical when it comes to the use of such leave.   The Pew study found that, of those surveyed, about 75 percent of Republicans and about 90 percent of Democrats support some kind of federal…

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01 Mar 2017 Call-In Procedures and Intermittent FMLA

  Intermittent FMLA leave and attendance issues: an employer’s nightmare. There are so many different rules that employers must follow, inquiries that can and cannot be made, and potentials for employee abuse.   Imagine this scenario: An employee is approved for intermittent FMLA leave to care for a sick child. The employer informs the employee about its process for administering this leave, which includes calling both the organization’s attendance line at least 30 minutes prior to missing work. Despite being informed of this process, the…

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03 Feb 2017 Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act: Legislature’s Quick Fix

The Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act went into effect on Jan. 1, 2017. As previously reported, the act requires employers who provide sick leave benefits in Illinois to allow employees to use the sick leave time for the injury, illness or medical appointment of the employee’s children and certain other family members. In its original form, the act was confusing to employers with respect to its breadth and applicability. In an effort to clear up the confusion, and less than two weeks after the act…

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12 Dec 2016 Litigation Battle Over Minneapolis Sick Leave Ordinance

  As explained in an earlier blog, Minneapolis passed a controversial paid sick leave ordinance in the spring. The ordinance affects all private employers with one or more employees working at least 80 hours in a calendar year in Minneapolis – which equates to 1.5 hours per week.   In response, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce commenced litigation in Hennepin County District Court, seeking injunctive relief to halt the ordinance, which is to become effective July 1, 2017. On Dec. 8, the court did not…

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04 Nov 2016 Airline Employee’s Fraudulent FMLA Request Ensures His Claim Never Gets Off the Ground

  If I had to guess, there is probably no statute that brings more frustration or gives employers more fits than the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – with intermittent leave occupying a special pedestal in this pantheon of exasperation. What to do about the employee who seems to always need FMLA right before or after a planned vacation or a three-day weekend? Admittedly, sometimes there’s nothing that can be done. However, in a recent Fourth Circuit opinion, the court saw through Plaintiff’s request…

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02 Sep 2016 Illinois Employers Who Provide Sick Leave Must Allow Workers to Use It for Children and Family Members

  Employers who provide sick leave benefits for employees in Illinois will soon have to allow employees to use their accrued paid sick time to care for their children and other family members and not just for their own illnesses.   Starting January 1, 2017, any Illinois worker who is entitled to sick leave will be able to use it for absences due to an illness, injury, or medical appointment for a child, spouse, or certain other family members on the same terms as sick…

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