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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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28 Nov 2017 Accommodate Pregnant Employees and Nursing Mothers, or Expect Consequences

  Employers must provide pregnant employees and nursing mothers with necessary workplace accommodations or face possible legal liability in court. That’s the lesson to be learned from a recent case that is one of the first to analyze and apply certain provisions in Illinois law.   In Spriesch v. City of Chicago, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois recently ruled that a fire department paramedic could proceed with at least some of her claims against her employer alleging…

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24 Aug 2017 Massachusetts Law Latest to Bolster Protection for Pregnant Employees

  On July 27, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which amends the state’s antidiscrimination law to include pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, such as breastfeeding, as protected classes. The new law, which goes into effect on April 1, 2018, also requires employers to provide pregnant employees and new mothers with reasonable accommodations unless such accommodations would cause the employer undue hardship.   Potential accommodations identified in the statute include: more frequent or longer breaks paid or unpaid leave to recover from…

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17 Jun 2016 EEOC Addresses Women’s Issues at White House’s United State of Women Summit

As a participant in the White House’s United State of Women Summit, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued three new documents addressing challenges that women face in the workplace: equal pay, pregnancy discrimination and pregnancy accommodation. The summit, which took place on June 14 and 15, aimed to bring leaders together to examine issues affecting women and girls and to consider best practices for action moving forward.   The first of the three new EEOC documents, “Equal Pay and the EEOC’s Proposal to Collect…

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16 May 2016 Ohio Pregnancy Accommodation Bill Much More “Accommodating” to Employees Than ADA

A bill named the Pregnancy Reasonable Accommodation Act was recently introduced in the Ohio Senate (S.B. 301). Although the bill is only in its infancy, it has bipartisan support in the Senate and could quickly be ratified. If the bill becomes law, it could dramatically increase the rights of pregnant employees and place additional unwanted burdens on employers.   The bill would require employers to grant pregnant employees a reasonable accommodation, which could include:   modifying equipment, seating or uniforms providing assistance with manual labor…

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31 Mar 2016 New Pregnancy Poster Available for California Employers

  The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has released a new pregnancy poster for employers to use in satisfying posting requirements under California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave law. This law applies to all California employers with five or more employees.   The new poster, which is directed toward pregnant employees, replaces the “Notice A” that California employers have been required to use until now. The two posters share the same title, “Your Rights and Obligations as a Pregnant Employee.”  The effective date of…

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18 Sep 2015 New rules provide insights for pregnancy accommodations in Illinois

Since the start of the year, all employers in Illinois with one or more employees are required to provide accommodations for pregnant workers for conditions associated with pregnancy and childbirth.  Now the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) and the Illinois Human Rights Commission (IHRC) have issued a set of proposed joint rules to assist with interpretation and enforcement of the new law.   Under amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2015, employers and labor organizations must…

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26 Jun 2015 EEOC revises its enforcement guidance on pregnancy discrimination to comport with recent Supreme Court ruling

The EEOC just issued a revised version of its Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues in order to address a number of issues related to the U.S.  Supreme Court’s recent decision in Young v. United Parcel Service, __ U.S. __135 S.Ct. 1338 (2015), which addressed the issue of disparate treatment of pregnant workers.   The newly released version of the Enforcement Guidance will supersede the prior Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination that the EEOC released in July 2014 while the Young v. UPS…

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01 Jun 2015 Colorado ACLU Posts Settlement Agreement Providing for Place to Breastfeed

We have written here before about the still relatively new Department of Labor rules providing that breastfeeding women must be provided with a private place – not a bathroom – to express milk for up to one year after childbirth.  Because of the relative newness of these rules, and the fact that in small workplaces it can take some rearranging to comply, these obligations are not yet intuitive for some employers.   Last week a settlement between a former employee and a beauty salon was…

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30 Apr 2015 Paradigm Shift: Triple Standard of Reasonable Accommodations

The old reliable rules seem less reliable these days. It is no longer enough to treat all employees the same. We have entered an era of interactive processes, individualized assessments and reasonable accommodation.   The term “reasonable accommodation” flows most easily in connection with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as we note its 25th anniversary.  But, as a reminder, it also applies to the religion clause of Title VII and now, thanks to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, we need to consider it in…

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26 Mar 2015 High Court’s Pregnancy Bias Decision Creates a New Standard

  In a 6-3 opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated a decision that rejected a Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) claim against the employer for failing to provide light duty work to a pregnant employee.  In Young v. United Parcel Services, Inc., the Court not only vacated the Fourth Circuit’s prior decision, but also rejected the arguments by both parties regarding the standard under which PDA claims should be analyzed. Instead, the majority embraced the McDonnell Douglas standard and modified it slightly.   Now, absent direct…

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