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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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14 Nov 2017 Ohio House Considers Bill to Protect Businesses from Architectural Barrier Lawsuits

  The Ohio House is considering a bill that would protect employers and business owners from unexpected lawsuits by disabled plaintiffs. House Bill 271 would create Section 4112.16 to the Ohio Revised Code’s Civil Rights Commission chapter and would require a person with a disability who encounters a potential architectural barrier to put the property owner on notice of the alleged barrier before filing suit. The theory behind the bill is that property owners could remove the architectural barrier without the cost or inconvenience of…

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01 May 2017 Lessons Learned: Job Descriptions Do Matter

  When was the last time you reviewed the job descriptions of your employees?  At the time of the review, did you ask supervisors to review the job descriptions to see if they were accurate?  What about the employees – did you have each employee review and sign the applicable job description, acknowledging that it accurately described the job duties as performed by the employee?  While there is no legal requirement to regularly update job descriptions (or even to have them), the 11th Circuit’s decision…

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01 Mar 2017 EEOC Subpoena Rejected by Tenth Circuit

  In its opinion issued in EEOC v. TriCore Reference Labs, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit offered hope to employers within that Circuit facing overly broad information requests and/or subpoenas from the EEOC. Specifically, the Tenth Circuit upheld the denial of the EEOC’s effort to enforce such a subpoena, weighing in on the boundaries placed on the EEOC’s administrative subpoena powers.   By way of background: In this matter, as part of its investigation into a single charge of sex/pregnancy discrimination…

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14 Jun 2016 Flex-Time and Telecommuting Requests: Potential Traps for the Unwary Employer

Imagine this nightmare scenario for an employer: employee requests a “flexible schedule” where she could start and end her workday up to an hour later than usual and to take extra breaks (up to three per day) during the day following panic attacks. She says she will need this schedule “indefinitely.” You have no idea when your employee will come to work or how long she will work during the day and there is no end in sight to this accommodation. What do you do? The depression…

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08 Jun 2016 What Employers must know about the Americans with Disabilities Act

A few weeks ago, we posted a blog concerning the aggressive, suit-filing tactics by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against employers and the expensive and public consent decrees that follow.   One of the EEOC consent decrees discussed was with Rock Tenn, a paper and packaging manufacturer with a facility located in Battle Creek, Michigan. The consent decree required Rock Tenn to pay $187,000 in settlement of the EEOC lawsuit to provide training to its employees and submit to EEOC oversight of the manufacturer’s…

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12 Oct 2015 Employee Who Threatened to Shoot His Colleagues with a Shotgun Not a “Qualified Individual” For the Purposes of Oregon’s Disability Statute, Says Ninth Circuit

The inherent tension between employee mental illness and workplace disability discrimination laws has become a hot topic over the last few years. Yet, legal opinions addressing this issue have often led to more questions than answers. For instance, what happens if an employee’s mental illness causes him or her to violate company rules? Can the employer discipline such an employee without running afoul of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? Or, in the most extreme situation, what disciplinary actions may an employer take against an…

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01 Jul 2015 More Hope for Employers Who Have Ever Felt Bullied by the EEOC

In past entries in this blog, we have noted how multiple courts have been critical of the EEOC for failing to engage in good faith settlement negotiations with employers. These cases provide some solace for employers who feel as if the EEOC takes unreasonable settlement positions simply because it has nothing to lose if settlement negotiations breakdown and litigation ensues. A recent case from a federal court in the Southern District of Ohio is the most recent case in this line.   In EEOC v….

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27 May 2015 Getting What You Don’t Ask For – The Perils Of ADA Accommodation By Inference

A case out of the federal court of Maine provides a useful reminder that employers cannot put blinders on when it comes to the ADA and requests for accommodation. The case, Heath v. Brennan (Case No. 2:13-cv-386-JDL), involved a long-time postal employee who developed tendinitis in the early 1990s, forcing him to wear arm braces at work. His co-workers teased him about the arm braces, which ranged from the mild (“gave him a hard time”) to the salacious (“he needed the braces because he had…

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25 Aug 2014 The Interactive Process Under the ADA – Are you engaging in it?

  We’ve been seeing a lot of cases lately where employers are finding it difficult to dispose of ADA claims before trial. It’s not what it used to be where you could often show an employee was not disabled under the ADA and likely prevail on summary judgment. With the broader scope (or interpretation of) a disability under the ADA, employers often find themselves arguing over whether an employee with a disability is qualified for a position, or whether an accommodation is truly reasonable.  …

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15 Aug 2014 It Depends: The Top 3 Inherently Gray Areas of Employment Law LETTER OF THE LAW: CURRENT EMPLOYMENT LAW ISSUES A-Z

Fact-specific.   Case by case.   These are just two of the terms that stand for one of the frustrating (for employers) truths of many areas of employment law:  there are few black and white answers. There are endless shades of gray, and in honor of this week’s letter of the law (G), we recognize three common gray areas and some specific questions that must be asked when addressing situations under each. The fact that there are so many questions that need to be answered…

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