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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law

20 Jul Sixth Circuit Holds Full-Time Presence at Work not Essential Simply Because an Employer Says So

On July 17, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reminded employers that determining the essential functions of a position is a highly fact specific endeavor in which categorical rules do not apply.   In Hosttetler v. College of Wooster, Heidi Hostettler worked as a full-time HR Generalist. After giving birth to her child, Hostettler experienced severe postpartum depression and separation anxiety. As a result, Hostetller’s physician determined it was medically necessary that she worked a reduced schedule and recommended that Hostettler…

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13 Jul Binary Bathrooms? Schools Emerge As Fulcrum On This Issue

Deliberations over the adoption of policies regarding bathroom access can be tricky, especially when the disputes involve young children and concerned parents.  Within the last year, profound disagreement has arisen among what schools should do regarding transgender students and bathroom policies.    In February, President Donald Trump’s Education Department confirmed that it is no longer investigating civil rights complaints from transgender students barred from school bathrooms that match their gender identity. The Education Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Hill in response to questions from The Washington Post…

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05 Jul E is for Equal Pay: Pay Data Reporting And The Shifting Meaning Of “Equal Work”

Pay equity among men and women has been a “front and center” topic for years.  President Obama made it one of the high priorities for his administration and signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act as his first piece of legislation in 2009.  While the issue and its surrounding policies are nothing new today (nor were they in 2009), it is still leaving employers scratching their heads and is a fitting topic for the next letter up in our Letter of the Law Series, the…

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03 Jul Establishing Direct Threat: How to Leverage the “Individualized Assessment”

Successfully asserting the Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA) direct threat affirmative defense is difficult.  It is disfavored because of the fear that well-intentioned concerns of injury will otherwise result in qualified disabled individuals being excluded from work.  A recent federal trial court decision, involving an operator at an ExxonMobil chemical plant shows how an employer can establish a direct threat disqualification in the face of conflicting medical opinions. The case is Spencer-Martin v ExxonMobil Corp., M.D. La., No. 16-789 (June 15, 2018).   The ADA’s…

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29 Jun Paid sick leave in Chicago and Cook County: Are you compliant with notice and carry over requirements?

For a year now, the City of Chicago and Cook County paid sick leave ordinances have required employers to provide at least a minimum amount of paid sick leave to eligible employees.  As the July 1 anniversary approaches, employers are reminded that certain aspects of the ordinances may require attention as a new year starts.   Calculation of carry-over. If an employer has not opted for an “immediate grant” to employees of their full paid sick leave entitlement at the start of each year, then…

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