President Signs Executive Order Requiring Paid Sick Leave for Contractors

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
09/10/2015
On Labor Day, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing paid sick leave for contractors and subcontractors of the federal government. The Order can be found here, and the Fact Sheet can be found here. Citing the fact that an estimated 44 million workers do not have paid sick leave, and the ostensible benefits of reduced turnover and increased productivity, the President travelled to Boston (Massachusetts already requires paid sick...
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Eighth Circuit Remands Damages Decision to Jury in FMLA Case

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
08/14/2015
The Eighth Circuit has held that factual disputes require a damages award in an FMLA case be reviewed by a jury. Wages v. Stuart Mgmt Co., 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 13942 (8th Cir. Aug. 10, 2015). Ena Wages was a caretaker at Woodridge Apartment Homes a property owned by Stuart Management Corporation (StuartCo.). Her positon involved daily tasks such as “vacuuming, cleaning, mopping, washing windows, and dusting.” Wages had been working since...
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UPS Manager’s Disability Does Not Excuse Perceived Racist Comment

Christopher Schaffhauser, a white male, sued United Parcel Services (UPS) after he was demoted from manager to supervisor for saying he would hit an African-American coworker so hard it would "knock the black off him." Schaffhauser’s lawsuit asserted race discrimination and a failure to accommodate his medical condition.  This note focuses on the ADA failure to accommodate claim. The Court described the circumstances leading to Schaffhauser’s...
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Maryland District Court Holds Employer's Failure to Reassign Disabled Employee to a New Position Was Not Disability Discrimination

Bernadette Hunton
Bernadette Hunton
07/24/2015
It was a victory for employers this week when Maryland’s federal district court determined that an employer is not obligated to accommodate a disabled employee who cannot perform the essential functions of his job by reassigning the employee to a new position that eliminates the essential functions of the former position. Raiford v. Md. Dep't of Juvenile Servs., No. 8:12-cv-03795, D. Md. (7/21/15). Plaintiff Raiford was a Resident Advisor (RA)...
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Montgomery County Passes Paid Sick Leave Law

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
06/26/2015
Beginning October 1, 2016, employers in Montgomery County, Maryland are required to provide paid sick and safe leave to their employees. Earlier this week, the Montgomery County Council unanimously passed paid sick leave legislation, which will enable workers to stay home with pay when they are under the weather or need to care for a family member. The law requires employers to provide each employee with earned sick/safe leave for work performed in...
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Fourth Circuit Denies School Principal's FMLA Retaliation Claim

Eric Paltell
Eric Paltell
06/18/2015
On June 15, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed a lower court's decision dismissing FMLA  interference and retaliation claims brought by an assistant school principal in Maryland.  Adams v. Anne Arundel County Public Schools, No. 14-1608 (4th Cir. 6/15/15). In affirming a grant of summary judgment to the school system, the Fourth Circuit relied upon the fact that the principal was granted three medical leaves of...
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Court Holds Employer Not Required to Grant Disabled Employee His Preferred Accomodation

Bernadette Hunton
Bernadette Hunton
05/22/2015
Most employers are well aware of their duty to offer a disabled employee reasonable accommodations upon request, but what’s an employer obligated to do when a proposed accommodation is rejected and the employee demands something different? Nothing, said the court in Noll v. Int’l Bus. Machs. Corp., No. 13-4096 (2d Cir. 5/21/15), so long as the offer of accommodations is “effective.” In this case, Plaintiff Noll, a deaf software engineer,...
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Court Orders Postal Service to Trial on Failure to Accommodate Stressed-Out Postal Carrier

Bernadette Hunton
Bernadette Hunton
05/19/2015
Can an employee avoid confrontation with management by requesting it as an accommodation? According to the court in Heath v. Brennan, No. 2:13-cv-00386, (D. Me. 5/14/15), the answer is yes. Plaintiff Heath, a U.S. Postal Service employee, worked as a mail carrier for 11 years before developing tendinitis in both of his elbows. His requests for accommodations were met with negativity from both management and co-workers. For example, one manager...
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EEOC Issues Proposed Rule on Workplace Wellness Programs

Eric Paltell
Eric Paltell
04/17/2015
On April 16, 2015, the EEOC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ("NPRM") on how the ADA applies to employer wellness programs that are part of a group health plan.  The NPRM will be published in the Federal Register on April 20, 2015, and the public will have a 60 day period within which to file comments.  The EEOC may then revise the rule based on the comments before taking final action to implement it. Under Title I of the ADA, employers are...
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Business Judgment Rule Supports Best Buy's Firing of Disabled Employee

Every once in a while, I read a case where my first reaction is:  "how does someone like this ever hold a job?"  That was my reaction when I read the Court's April 10, 2015 decision in Sharp v. Best Buy Co., Inc. out of the United States District Court for Western District of Kentucky. In Sharp, the plaintiff was an auto technician who suffered from narcolepsy and cataplexy. Best Buy accommodated his conditions by excusing him from shift work, and...
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