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Jonathan Hyman

A refusal to grant time off as an accommodation for the disability of an employee’s family member will only pass muster for employers too small to be covered by the FMLA or employees who did not work long enough to be eligible for FMLA leave.

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The NLRB has continued its assault on garden-variety em­­ploy­­ment policies, issuing three decisions in recent weeks, each of which concluded that facially neutral employment policies violated employees’ rights to engage in protected concerted activity.

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Employees who complain about alleged discrimination are protected from punishment under the so-called opposition clause of Title VII. Not every vague allegation, however, amounts to opposition.

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Title VII requires an employer to reasonably accommodate an employee whose sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance conflicts with a work requirement, unless doing so would pose an undue hardship. If you are planning to reject an employee’s request for a shift change as a religious accommodation, you must be able to support the claim of hardship with facts.

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In Litton v. Talawanda School Dis­­trict, a demoted and transferred custodian sued his employer for age and race discrimination. In Litton, did the 6th Circuit unwittingly create a cause of action for benign discrimination? Or, is this case an aberration that future courts will distinguish and disregard?

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Earlier this year, the EEOC published Veterans and the Ameri­­cans with Disabilities Act (ADA): A Guide for Employers. In the guide, the EEOC asks the following question: May a private employer give preference in hiring to a veteran with a disability over other applicants?

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Each year, new employment laws go on the books and courts write thousands upon thousands of decisions interpreting old laws. Yet, year after year, many HR professionals reach up onto a dusty shelf to hand new employees the same old employee handbook someone wrote years ago—too often without a second of consideration whether the contents still pass legal muster.

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It is illegal in Ohio for an employer to discriminate because of the em­­­ployee’s disability. But it’s not always easy to figure out who this proscription covers, because Ohio’s statute and the federal ADA have their own respective definitions of “disability,” which vary slightly.

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The Affordable Care Act health care reform law requires employers to provide space for ­mothers to lactate. According to the latest available statistics, the DOL has cited a whopping 23 companies for failing to comply. What do the statistics mean? Either the lactation mandate is not yet widely known, but complaints (and citations) will rise as public knowledge catches up with the law’s requirements; or the lack of lactation space in American workplaces is a myth that never needed a legislative solution.

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In late January, the National Labor Relations Board released an “Operations Management Memo” that purports to offer additional guidance to employers and HR professionals concerned about employees’ use of social media. I can sum up the NLRB’s report in three words: What a mess.

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