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Employer’s Departure from Job Description Can Be Evidence of Pretext

Job descriptions are important tools in a variety of ways.  What an employer puts (or doesn’t put) on a job description can make a big difference when defending an employment action down the line.  For one, a job description can help employers satisfy ADA obligations by properly identifying a job’s essential functions and distinguishing them […]

Eighth Circuit Says Employee Not Required to Use “Magic Words” When Requesting Accomodation

Employers may wish to avoid learning the details about their employees’ medical conditions.  But trying to avoid such knowledge does not necessarily absolve employers of applicable reasonable accommodation obligations under the ADA.  A recent case out of the Eighth Circuit demonstrates the importance of engaging in the interactive process when an employee asks for an […]

SCOTUS Denies Review of Domino’s Website Accessibility

Last week, the Supreme Court denied Domino’s Pizza’s request to review a Ninth Circuit decision, Robles v. Domino’s Pizza, LLC, No. 17-55504 (1/15/19), that holds the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requires stores and other businesses to make online services accessible to disabled persons.  The decision (or lack of) returns the case to a California […]

Supreme Court Hears Arguments In LGBTQ-Title VII Cases

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in three soon-to-be landmark cases concerning LGBTQ rights under Title VII: Bostock v. Clayton County (No. 17-1618); Altitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda (No. 17-1623); and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. EEOC (18-107).  Bostock and Zarda concern whether sexual orientation is protected under Title […]

Second Circuit Offers Guidance on Associational Discrimination

How should an employer react when its employee reports needing time off to care for a sick or disabled relative or friend?  The Second Circuit recently weighed in on an ADA associational discrimination claim arising in part from an employer’s denial of a former employee’s schedule modification request to care for his disabled daughter.   Kelleher […]

Arbitrators Take One More Step Toward Infallibility

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review a decision of the Ninth Circuit (http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2018/12/04/16-16363.pdf) allowing an arbitrator to alter the terms of a collective bargaining agreement, despite contract language saying that the arbitrator could not alter the agreement in any way. ASARCO v. Steelworkers , No. 18-1415, Cert denied 10/7/19.  https://www.supremecourt.gov/search.aspx?filename=/docket/docketfiles/html/public/18-1415.html One thing that […]

Implicit Bias Training: California Attempts To Address Feelings And Biases People Do Not Know They Have

Confirmation bias is a real thing. People give more weight to information that supports their beliefs than information than contradicts them.  You should recognize this. Stereotypes are real things, too. Most are based on characteristics that many folks in a particular group might have, but that characteristic becomes a stereotype when people think everyone in […]

Fitness for Duty Exams Scrutinized by Federal Court in Illinois

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, an employer may require medical examinations or make inquiries of employees about disabilities as long as the such examinations or inquiries are job related and consistent with business necessity.  The employer bears the burden of proof of business necessity and job relatedness.  Frequently, issues arise when employees develop medical […]

Maryland’s New Workplace Laws, Including Significant Changes To Maryland’s Anti-Discrimination Law

As of October 1, 2019, there are a series of new laws and/or amendments to existing laws that impact Maryland’s workplaces and employers.  These include: Significant FEPA Amendments:  Maryland’s anti-discrimination law, the Fair Employment Practices Act (FEPA), now includes independent contractors within the definition of employee entitled to FEPA’s protections.  Further, while FEPA generally applies to […]

Gender Identity Bias and Employer Dress Codes

On October 8, the Supreme Court will hear arguments whether gender identity is a protected classification under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, in addition to sex, race, color, religion, and national origin.  R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, et al., No. 18-107.  Whatever the Court decides, its […]