Mindy Chapman, Esq., Mindy Chapman & Associates

You’ve
probably got an ADA policy that extends reasonable accommodations to
any disabled workers. That’s good. But are your managers following
through? If your paper policy is the only thing granting
accommodations, a court could make you pay the price … big time. As in
punitive damages…

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Basing hiring decisions on the prejudices of your customer base is a sure way to land in court. Hiring managers can’t try to push off their bias
onto a third party using excuses like “Our customers feel more
comfortable dealing with [male or younger or white] employees.” That
just won’t fly in court…

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Employees with “serious health conditions” can take FMLA leave. But
when does that serious condition take effect for employees who need
alcohol treatment? Is it when the employee first contacts a doctor to
get a referral for in-patient treatment … or is it at the time of
check-in? Can you fire an employee for absenteeism prior to going in to rehab? One court ruling last week says you can

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Are your
managers giving you only half the story when recommending a
termination? Watch out! As a new court ruling says, this kind of
“willful ignorance” on your part is no defense to discriminatory
conduct

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Can a boss hire or promote people simply because he has a religious
obligation to “help his own?” Can managers incorporate their religious
beliefs when making employment decisions?

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Does your company have a written progressive disciplinary process?
If so, do your managers and supervisors always follow it fairly and
consistently? One slip-up, as a new case shows, can smash your company
in court

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Employees don’t have to say the
magic words, “I am requesting FMLA leave” to earn protection under the
FMLA. It’s up to employers to recognize qualifying leave, based on the
information provided by employees. But
when employees are out for workers’ compensation injuries, must you
interpret that as automatic notice that they’re suffering a “serious
health condition” that qualifies them for FMLA leave? This new ruling
shows how workers’ comp leave can quickly morph into FMLA notice …

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When was the last time you read your company’s reporting procedures?
And where did you get it in the first place? Please don’t tell me you
copied it from your previous employer’s handbook or, worse yet, pulled
a “one-size-fits-all” policy off the Internet without customizing it. A
new court ruling shows why you should take it out, dust it off and look
it over closely…

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If you thought only employees could put you on legal notice that
harassment is occurring in your workplace, maybe it’s time you looked
up … into the sky. A new court ruling says that “helicopter
parents”—super-involved moms and dads who hover over their kids’
lives—can officially flip your notice switch, requiring you to take
prompt effective action to stop the harassing conduct. If not, you’ll
see them both in court

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Typically,
employees must notify you if they have an FMLA-qualifying “serious”
physical or mental condition. But what if the employee, herself, isn’t
aware of this need? Is it up to you and your supervisors to recognize
any behavior changes that may indicate the presence of a serious
FMLA-qualifying condition? In cases of psychiatric problems it likely
does, as the following case shows

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